The protest, which was called under the "Delhi Trees SOS" campaign, to make people aware of the redevelopment project and its impact on the environment, kicked off from Sarojini Nagar.
The centre while responding to reports saying that nearly 17,000 trees are to be cut in Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Mohammadpur, Sriniwaspuri, Kasturba Nagar and Thyagaraj Nagar as part of the redevelopment project, said that "14,031 trees are to be cut out of the existing 21,040 trees".
"The redevelopment of the seven colonies is being done with complete adherence to environmental sustainability and green building concepts and special care and attention is being given towards retaining the maximum number of the existing trees," the statement said.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, in a statement, added that "the compensatory plantation of trees will be done in the ratio of 1:10, which will enhance the green area".
The ministry said 1,35,460 trees would be planted, resulting in an "urban forest", which would help generate oxygen and reduce the pollution levels in the city.
There will be "an increase in the green area coverage by about three times," it added.
About 2,315 of the 3,906 trees in Netaji Nagar and 562 in Mohammadpur would be felled. In Kasturba Nagar, 723 trees, in Srinivaspuri, 750 trees and in Thyagraj Nagar, 93 trees would be cut, the statement said.
This comes at a time when Delhi is struggling to breathe as the air quality has remained poor. Last week, the quality had plunged to the "severe" level.
A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Delhi High Court against the project on Friday. The petitioner has claimed that permission was granted incorrectly to cut over trees for various development projects. The plea further said that the felling of trees started on Friday in at least six locations of the national capital.
The court then asked the petitioners to provide photographs of the trees that were cut. The court will hear the plea on Monday.
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