Mission Peepal: NDMC to remove unwanted trees from heritage buildings at Delhi's Connaught Place
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) will soon launch the ''Mission Peepal'' initiative under which unwanted trees and branches will be removed from the heritage buildings at the outer and inner circles of Connaught Place, according to an official.
The civic body will first conduct a survey of these buildings, its Vice Chairman Satish Upadhyay told reporters here on Friday.
''The NDMC will soon start an initiative called 'Mission Peepal' under which all the unwanted trees and branches will be removed from the heritage buildings of the outer and inner circles at Connaught Place. It will be a good and environment-friendly initiative.
''The NDMC will first conduct a survey of these buildings and thereafter, scientifically prune the overgrown and dead branches of the old trees,'' he said.
The civic body will collaborate with the market traders associations (MTAs) for the purpose, Upadhyay said, adding that the initiative is especially for Connaught Place as thousands of people visit the area on a daily basis.
The official informed that most of the unwanted plants that grow on building walls are ''peepal''.
''The best way to get rid of the peepal trees (Ficus religiosa) grown on roofs and walls is to use glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in non-selective, systemic herbicides and which commonly kills weeds and weed roots in landscape settings. Fast-growing trees close to buildings can cause an unequal settlement when the active tree roots dry out the soil, causing differential soil shrinkage.
''As trees grow and the root systems become more expansive, they absorb more moisture from a larger area and the soil shrinks further. This causes a ground movement that can lead to subsidence and eventually, damage to building foundations,'' Upadhyay said.
''Pruning is a healthy procedure that can remove any portion that has a disease, fungi or other types of decay, stopping it from spreading to the healthier branches. Removing these branches can also expose the other branches to more sunlight and air circulation, which also helps reduce the incidence of disease and encourages fruit production. The NDMC covers only 3 per cent of Delhi's total area, but 64.5 per cent area of the council is under a green cover,'' Upadhyay said.
The drive comes in the wake of at least 77 trees being uprooted in Lutyens' Delhi by a fierce thunderstorm and heavy rains that hit the capital on May 30.
According to data provided by the NDMC, the Lutyens' Delhi area has lost as many as 1,813 trees since 2015. Officials claimed that around 300 heritage trees were also lost between 2015-16 and 2021-22.
Indigenous tree species such as neem, peepal, pilkhan, jamun, arjun, khirni and imli were planted in the NDMC area when British architect Edwin Landseer Lutyens was entrusted with the task to plan New Delhi in 1911.
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