With the Supreme Court underscoring that the Lieutenant Governor is bound by the advice of cabinet advice on all matters except land, police and public order, the Delhi government got down to business today on two key issues. The first was doorstep delivery of rations, meant to benefit the economically weaker sections. The second was one that cheered one and all -- withdrawal of the permission for felling trees at south Delhi's Netaji Nagar, Naoriji Nagar and Kidwai Nagar.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal retweeted party leader Saurabh Bhardwaj, who "broke" the news.
BREAKING - As Supreme Court has declared that decisions of Ministers of Elected Govt will be binding on LG.The decision to revoke tree cutting permissions for Central Govt project has been signed by LG today.
Such a relief when Elected Govt works as per will of the people.— Saurabh Bharadwaj (@Saurabh_MLAgk) July 6, 2018
Felling of trees had been a deeply disturbing issue for the people of Delhi, one of the world's most polluted cities. Thousands have been holding protests for weeks in posh South Delhi to put an end to the felling of 17,000 trees for a Central plan to build houses for government officers and a commercial complex. Few agreed with the Centre's plan to plant a larger number of saplings, pointing out that they cannot be a substitute for full-grown trees.
While orders from the Delhi High Court put off the felling indefinitely, it did not apply in all the areas. More than 3,000 trees have been cut down in Nauroji Nagar and Netaji Nagar. The Nauroji Nagar project, which has already started, is being touted as Delhi's first World Trade Centre.
In a communique, the Delhi government said along with withdrawing permission, Environment minister Imran Hussain also recommended action against NBCC, the agency implementing the central building programme, for violations. The decision will help save 2,276 trees from being cut, the government said.
"A big step by Del govt to protect the lungs of Del. Delhi govt will embark upon massive tree plantation drive with active participation of people in coming weeks (sic)," tweeted Mr Kejriwal.
This evening, recounting his exchange on the handover of services with Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, Mr Kejriwal had had pointed out that "with the powers we have got we have taken some important decisions" and recounted the orders for doorstep distribution of rations that were passed in the morning.