The National Green Tribunal has restrained the South Delhi Municipal Corporation from carrying out construction of toilets and staff room for its employees in a playground at South Delhi’s Gulmohar Park area. The NGT bench reiterated that the construction activity, measuring around 0.2 acres, unless otherwise specified is not permitted under the Master Plan 2021.
The NGT directed the South corporation to restore the “tot lot” — defined as a small playground for children, as per the Master Plan — to its original condition, “demolish the structure raised” and remove all rubble from the area.
“Anything constructed in an open area, which is designated as a tot lot area in a Master Plan, unless specifically permitted therein amounts to invasion of open area necessary and planned for maintaining salubrious environment and as such would cause damage to it,” the bench said.
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The corporation had contended that the park is a “community park” and “the Master Plan for Delhi permits amenity structures for housing equipment room/toilet block/guard room in such community park”. But the tribunal, after perusing the layout plan of DDA, said that there was no mention of a “community park”, except a reference to the open space or “tot lot”.
“We have to hold that this is not a community park but a tot lot. No area, therefore, from tot lot area can be put to use for raising any type of construction at the peril of the environment available to the local resident as per the Master Plan,” the tribunal said.
The bench was hearing a plea by Gulmohar Park Journalists Colony Welfare Association seeking directions to South corporation to “forthwith cease from the construction activity inside the park and demolish the structures raised”. The petition had claimed that corporation had started construction of a room in October last year in the area and this would rob the residents of the open space and access to fresh air.
The South corporation, in response, said the construction of the structure was necessary for storing horticulture equipment and machinery, since the existing structure was in a dilapidated condition.