Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

NGT seeks govt response on East Kidwai Nagar plea

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Posted: July 15, 2014 12:54 am | Updated: July 15, 2014 12:56 am

The National Green Tribunal on Monday sought the Centre’s response on a plea requesting a stay on a Ministry of Urban Development project that seeks to commercialise the East Kidwai Nagar area in the capital.

A bench headed by U D Salvi sought responses from Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Environment and Forests and the State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) on the plea filed by Rajiv Suri. In his petition, Suri had challenged the construction and redevelopment project in the area.

In its order, the NGT said the petitioner sought the “revocation of the environment clearance allegedly obtained by NBCC Ltd on concealment and misrepresentation of facts regarding development of commercial area within the project”. The petitioner also claimed that the project was “bound to result in a massive environmental degradation on account of its adverse impact on the soil and underground water level”.

The bench has directed that the Centre file the replies within two weeks, while listing the matter for August 12. “Replies be tendered within two weeks from today with advance copy of the reply to the applicant,” the tribunal said.

The high-rise housing complex for government employees at East Kidwai Nagar, which is being redeveloped by the National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd (NBCC), is spread across 86 acres and is expected to cost Rs 5,000 crore. NBCC has proposed the construction of a commercial complex on 10 per cent of the area, which is intended to be used as office space for ministries, government departments and public sector units.

Earlier, senior advocate Aman Lekhi had filed a writ petition in High Court, claiming that the redevelopment plan for East Kidwai Nagar had been made without considering environmental implications, road space or rights of residents. On July 1, the High Court had suggested that the government take a “re-look” at the proposed plan, which includes the construction of several highrise residential buildings and commercial space. The petition is pending in High Court.

On July 3, Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung had informed the court that a meeting would be convened before July 26 to analyse the impact on infrastructure as well as the lives of residents in the neighbourhood, particularly with regard to noise, air pollution as well as traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, senior advocate A S Chandhiok, appearing on behalf of NBCC, had told the High Court that at least for the next year, no third-party rights would be created. The High Court had asked NBCC to submit their response in written. During arguments before the NGT, the counsel appearing for NBCC said since the matter was already being heard in High Court, “it is open for the applicant to join himself to the said writ petition and voice his grievances”.

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