Affidavit by Aditya N. Prasad on shortage of manpower and equipment faced by the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Delhi, 13/12/2020
Additional affidavit on behalf of Aditya N. Prasad & Others Vs Union of India & Others dated 13/12/2020.
The matter related to shortage of manpower and equipment faced by the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Government of NCT of Delhi. This was causing hindrance in performance of their responsibilities as mandated by various statutes for protection of the environment, urban trees, forests and wildlife.
The Department of Forests has only three Deputy Conservator of Forests (DCF). The entire burden of enforcement of all statutory laws falls on these officials. The information received under the RTI Act, 2005 reveals that in a period of one year alone (2019), there were 5 recorded incidents of threats and physical assaults on the officials.
A newspaper report published in the Hindustan Times, Delhi edition dated December 10, 2020 stated that over 77 trees went missing in a residential colony called Sarvodaya Enclave when the residents carried out a census of the trees in the said colony. The complete absence of beat routes for protection of urban trees by the Forest Department, Delhi was allowing for consistent violation of forestry laws in the city.
The affidavit by Aditya N. Prasad requested that adequate forces of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to aid the forest departments and deploy them in the protected forests, reserve forests, wildlife sanctuaries and field offices to patrol and protect the forests - till such time that the requisite manpower is recruited, trained, armed and deployed by the Forest Department.