Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022

After ministry sees red at Noida park,Maya hurriedly goes green

After cutting down 6,000 trees for a statue complex in Noida,hundreds of trees are now being planted in the same place — after cracking open freshly-built concretised area.

After cutting down 6,000 trees for a statue complex in Noida,hundreds of trees are now being planted in the same place — after cracking open freshly-built concretised area.

A few days ago,an inspection by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) found that trees had been cut down by the Mayawati government in violation of environment norms to make way for the complex near the Atta Market in Noida. Uttar Pradesh had been asked to submit a response to the MOEF on this.

However,just days before this report is to be sent,there is frenzied activity in this 33-hectare area where the project is coming up at a cost of nearly Rs 200 crore. Over a thousand large saplings have been planted here in the last two days. There is an emphatic order to the state’s forest department,sources said,that officials procure all kinds of large saplings and plant them in the Noida statue complex with immediate effect.

Newsline visited the spot to find workers busy planting trees,and even digging up freshly-constructed areas to accommodate saplings. All saplings chosen are above three feet tall.

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A case filed by Noida residents on the environmental damages caused by the complex is also pending before the Centrally Empowered Committee (the forest panel) of the Supreme Court.

Residents are enraged. “What upsets us is the arrogance with which this project marches on. Five of our parks were completely destroyed to make this complex. Diggers have sunk a deep trench to create a new boundary wall after knocking down the existing one,which was perfectly fine. Didn’t the chopped trees have any ecological role to play? Those were old trees,” said Kanan Jaswal,one of the petitioners in the case.

The Noida Authority,meanwhile,has refused to comment on the tree plantation.


For this project an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was required. This is because of two factors — one,its big expanse,and two,its proximity to the Okhla bird sanctuary. Such a big project required an EIA in category ‘A’ from the Centre — and not the state. Central forest officials said the clearance was not taken.

Further,a deemed forest was demolished for the project. The MOEF report,accessed by Newsline,states: “As per records available in the Regional Office,environmental clearance for construction activities in Gautam Budh Nagar has been taken neither from the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority nor from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.”

The report also questions the future of the Okhla bird sanctuary and raises concerns of warming in the area. “The largescale concrete structures will definitely raise the temperature of the surroundings,which may adversely affect the micro climate contiguous to the narrow strip along the sanctuary,thereby endangering the existence of the sanctuary itself,” the report states.

First published on: 16-07-2009 at 12:45:44 am
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