NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday halted pavement tiling work being undertaken by PWD in Sheikh Sarai after environmental activists complained that flouting the tribunal’s orders, tree roots were being embedded in concrete. A status quo on the work has been imposed and notices issued to PWD to respond to charges of violating the tribunal’s directions.

The chairperson’s bench of the tribunal headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar ordered the status quo responding to an application filed by activist Aditya N Prasad highlighting the violations. Upon a petition filed earlier by Prasad, the tribunal in April directed over a dozen government departments in Delhi to stop the practice of concretizing tree roots besides asking them to remove nails and signboards fixed on tree trunks.

In the application filed on Wednesday, activists have accused the PWD of having bypassed urban greening guidelines issued by the union urban development ministry in year 2000. Activists said that contrary to the guidelines, concretization work of footpaths near RPS flats in Sheikh Sarai Phase I was undertaken by PWD Zone IV though there is minimal pedestrian traffic in the area.

In paving a footpath with low pedestrian traffic, the PWD has also allegedly flouted orders issued by the Delhi government wherein agencies like NDMCMCD, PWD and so on had been directed to carry out a ‘pedestrian load study’ along roads before embarking upon paving or tiling work. The directions had been issued in 2002 in a meeting of various agencies chaired by chief minister Sheila Dixit.

“Despite informing officials and contractors about the guidelines and directions, four-inches of concrete was poured on the green areas right up to the tree trunks after removing the top soil. Several trees have been damaged in the process and we have demanded to prohibit similar paving work planned to be carried out by PWD in nearby areas,” said Prasad.