Forest department imposes Rs 5 lakh fine on NCERT for cutting of trees


A fine of over Rs 5 lakh has been imposed on the NCERT for heavily pruning 33 trees and cutting five without permission from the forest department inside its campus on Aurobindo road here, an official said today.

Acting on a complaint from an NGO on August 7, a team of forest rangers visited the campus of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and found that five trees were cut and 33 heavily pruned, the forest department official said.

Cutting and even pruning of trees require permission from authorities under the Delhi Preservation of Trees Act. He said the NCERT campus had applied for permission to cut and prune trees, but before the forest department could take a look into the application, the trees were pruned and some cut.

A report was submitted on August 8 by the forest rangers who visited the spot and a decision has been taken to impose a fine of over Rs 5 lakh on the NCERT registrar for the cutting of trees, the official said, adding that the case has been compounded.

Complainant Verhaen Khanna said the fine should be a lesson for everyone and it would have cost way less if the authorities concerned had just waited for grant of permission from the forest department. "A whole row of trees along the fence were heavily pruned and there were eucalyptus and semal trees among the ones that were chopped," he said.

The NCERT has, however, claimed that the trees were cut under the "occupation" of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration which is a separate entity.

There has been a movement against tree cutting by various NGOs and citizens in Delhi, which started after it was reported that over 16,000 trees would be chopped off for a redevelopment project in South Delhi.

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