“How can you do this to a 300-year-old tree? It has existed even before the Britishers could even think of coming to India. It is a part of the heritage of this city. How can you damage it in this manner,” said Delhi High Court
Irked over the abuse of a 300- year old Banyan tree in Nai Sadak, Chandni Chowk, Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi government and North Delhi Municipal Corporation to take steps for its immediate restoration. The court has also sought action against the erring officials and builders indulged in illegal construction.
Justice Nazmi Waziri expressed his displeasure over the abuse and said that the photographs of the shows the horrific condition of the grand old tree, which has seen the unfolding of the city. The court has also sought a status report from Delhi government and tree officer.
A huge Banyan tree claimed to be 300 year old, hemmed in by concrete and cement with metal rods from a neighbouring under-construction building tearing through its branches and dug-up ground exposing its roots. The tree is surrounded by houses from three sides.
The matter get highlighted when a local resident Nitin Gupta moved Delhi High Court seeking rescue of this heritage and action against illegal construction.
Even though North Delhi Municipal Corporation doesn’t have any records showing the age of the tree, local residents used to estimate and claim with recalling the stories told by their forefathers, that the tree was planted in the 17th century.
Another petitioner Kushmakar Rastogi have become an ally to rescue the tree and filed an application in the Delhi High Court. “This property belonged to one Satyanarayan Gurwali, who was believed to be the richest man in the area about 300 years ago. His family planted this tree. There used to be melas under the tree and everyone from the neighbourhood used to gather around,” stated Rastogi.
Rastogi also mentioned that he had also written to the conservator of forests against the pruning of the banyan tree and thereafter a fine of Rs 8,000 has been imposed on the builders.