Earlier this year, NDMC had a bright idea of digging holes into healthy trees, just to place a piece of plastic with their logo and a QR code for people to use their smartphones to find out the name of the tree. The Plastic signboard also had the name of the tree printed on it.
Several mainstream news agencies praised this step.
India Today: Trees at Delhi’s iconic Lodhi Garden to be tagged with QR codes: Here’s how it’ll help visitors
On 23rd April 2013, The Honourable National Green Tribunal had ordered all public authorities, including MCD, PWD, DDA, DTC, DMRC, NHAI and CPWD, to ensure that “All the signboards, names, advertisements, any kind of boards or signages, electric wires and high tension cables or otherwise are removed from the trees forthwith.” It also states that, “All the respondents whose boards are fixed on the trees shall be prosecuted by the respective authorities under in accordance with the relevant law.”
On 8th October 2015, the Department of Forest and Wildlife issued a Public Notice which states that, “All Civic Agencies, Govt. departments, RWA’s may please ensure removal of all the signboards, names, advertisements, any kind of boards or signages, electric wires and high tension cables etc. placed on trees within their jurisdiction/control failing which a penalty of Rs 10,000 will be imposed upon them for causing damage to trees. The person/ agency/ firm/ company etc whose advertisement or bill board etc is found on the trees shall also be prosecuted and/ or a penalty of Rs 10,000 imposed upon him.”
It is such a tragedy that absolutely nobody from the entire Department of Forest and Wildlife realised that NDMC had damaged many trees by digging holes to place plastic signages with their logo on trees even though there were many articles in the newspapers praising this tree damaging activity.
On 11th January 2019, a complaint was made to the DCF HQ and copied to senior officers at the Department Forest and Wildlife regarding the NDMC digging holes in trees to put plastic signages with their logo. Apparently, nobody in the Department of Forest and Wildlife was aware of such destruction of trees in the heart of the city. After informing the authorities, they said that they will take action against NDMC.
On 17th January 2019, a letter was sent to DCF South, DCF West and DCF North, from the DCF (P&M) , copied to the complainant, stating that “You are requested to take necessary action as per rules and submit an action taken report to this office. Further, you may also inform the complainant about action taken in this regard.”
It is now April of 2019, no further communication has been shared by the Department of Forest and Wildlife with the complainant. The media did not inform the public of this illegal activity by the NDMC which damaged numerous healthy trees in Lodhi Garden. The NDMC staff claims that nobody has informed them about the illegal signboards which have been dug into trees. So, the signboards with their logo are still on the trees which should have been removed in January.
Recently, a beautiful flowering Semal tree was felled in Green Park to accommodate a new building. The permission to fell the tree was issued by the DCF South. Many residents protested and then the DCF South issued a notice to keep the permission in abeyance. Citizens rejoiced that the Department of Forest and Wildlife took a positive step by stopping the unnecessary felling. But unfortunately, the tree disappeared OVERNIGHT because a senior official ordered it to be removed immediately. The same could have been done to speed up the action with NDMC, instead its been 4 months now.
We hope that this article has helped you to become aware about the law regarding Signboards on trees.
If you do see any signboards on trees, feel free to remove them, because it only attracts other people to also advertise on the trees and in the process the trees suffer and die very soon after.
The condition of our environment today is so pathetic that we can not even afford to lose a single tree, and instead, thousands of healthy trees full of wildlife are being destroyed every single day.
The best method to identify trees is to buy a book on trees which you can take anywhere and use it to identify the trees around you. You can buy “Pradip Krishens list of 100 most suitable trees for Delhi (NCR)” from New Delhi Nature Society. If you plan to plant trees or identify trees in Delhi, this booklet is very helpful for beginners.