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Security will be deployed to ensure that the saplings are not stolen or damaged. (Representational)New Delhi: A rare plan to grow 1,000 sandalwood trees in Lutyens’ Delhi has begun with the arrival from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh of the first batch of their saplings, which will receive unusual pampering — round the clock security guards will protect the saplings from possible theft and damage.Delhi already has sandalwood trees at parks and gardens such as Lodhi Garden, Buddha Park and Talkatora Garden but this is for the first time when sandalwood plantation is being taken up at such a big scale, an official said.According to the plan, besides extra care, security guards will be deployed to ensure that the sandalwood saplings are not stolen or damaged.NDMC member Kuljeet Singh Chahal told PTI that a total of 1,000 saplings of red and white sandalwood trees will be planted in “closed locations” like parks, gardens of residential societies due to security concerns, under the jurisdiction of the New Delhi Municipal Council.The first consignment of the sandalwood saplings has arrived in the national capital and preparations are underway for their plantation, Mr Chahal said, adding they will not be planted along road stretches.”If we plant sandalwood saplings along road stretches, they may get stolen, vandalised or damaged. These saplings require extra care and security. Our existing guards will be used for the safety of the saplings,” he said.Mr Chahal said 600 saplings will be planted in the south circle of the NDMC which includes areas like Lodhi Garden, Sarojini Nagar, Chanakya Puri, among others, while the north circle includes locations like Rajpath, Sansad Marg, Connaught Place, Mother Teresa Crescent and Gole Market, among others.However, Mr Chahal did not divulge the details about the cost of the sandalwood saplings.It comes comes after Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena had in July directed all land owning agencies — NDMC, MCD, DDA, Delhi Parks and Garden Society, Delhi Biodiversity Society — to plant 10,000 sandalwood saplings across the city during the ongoing monsoon season.The Municipal Corporation of Delhi is yet to procure saplings.Although civic bodies have started the process of procuring sandalwood saplings, some environment experts raised concerns, citing that Delhi’s climate is not suitable for sandalwood trees.Environment expert Prdeep Krishen, who is also the author of the Book ‘Trees of Delhi’, said it is a “stupid thing to do”.”If you bring a polar bear in Delhi and keep him in a ice-house, it may survive, but it is a stupid thing to do. You need to match the tree to the soil, moisture regime and climate. The moment you stop looking after the tree, it will die,” Mr Krishen told PTI.He said sandalwood doesn’t grow in Delhi. If you put it in a garden and give all the attention it needs, it might survive. But it is not a clever thing to do, he added.”It might be possible to give close attention to a small number of sandalwood trees, but who would take care of thousands of trees,” Mr Krishen said.Another environment expert Manoj Mishra, however, said it is possible that sandalwood trees may survive in Delhi but their heartwood will lack the scent these tree are famous for.”Properties of a tree depend on the climate. If there would be no scent in the wood, it will not serve any purpose. These trees will not be of any commercial value,” said Mr Mishra, who is an Indian Forest Service Officer.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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