CHENNAI: Trees on the city’s roadside that are chocked with tar or concrete around them may soon get a breathing space for their roots, courtesy the National Green Tribunal (NGT). On Friday the NGT’s Southern Bench directed the Chennai Corporation to remove any concrete or tar surface laid around the trunk of the trees.
The tribunal passed the interim orders while hearing a petition filed by P Edwin Wilson, a city resident, who had sought removal of the concrete and tar laid around the trees.
He had argued that laying of concrete around the trunk hinders penetration of nutrients to the trees from air and water ultimately leading to the death of the tree. He said the government authorities without awareness about the detrimental effects had laid concrete and tar closely surrounding the trunks of several trees.
When the case came up for hearing, Joint Commissioner of the Corporation Vijay Pingale appeared before the tribunal and submitted that the civic body, in a few localities in the city, had already left one metre radius space around the trunks of trees.
Advocate S Saravanan, who appeared on behalf of the corporation, submitted photos of a few pavements and roads in areas like Besant Nagar where free space is left around the trees.
However, the petitioner’s counsel listed a few localities where the concrete surfaces were laid leaving nop space around the trunks of trees.
After hearing the arguments, the vacation bench, comprising judicial member P Jyothimani and expert member G K Pandey, ordered the Corporation to remove the concrete or tar surface laid surrounding the trees in the areas listed by the petitioner within a week. The tribunal also directed the corporation to remove such surfaces around the trees across the city without mentioning any time frame for it.
The counsel for the corporation readily agreed to comply with the directions and said it will conduct a tree mapping exercise for the purpose.
As the petitioner had prayed for similar directions across Tamil Nadu, the tribunal included National Highways Authority of India, State Highways department and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest as respondents in the case and also ordered issuing of notices to them. The next hearing in the case was posted to August 6.