Don’t remove 1,400 trees for Outer Ring Road project: NGT

The merits of the Public Works Department are being questioned again at the National Green Tribunal for allegedly damaging trees for a second road construction project prematurely

Written by Kamala Kelkar | New Delhi | Published: July 24, 2013 3:06:10 am

The merits of the Public Works Department are being questioned again at the National Green Tribunal for allegedly damaging trees for a second road construction project prematurely,this time at Outer Ring Road in Vikaspuri.

The NGT ordered on Tuesday that the PWD will not be able to remove any of the proposed 1,400 trees for construction at least until an expert report is submitted on how the green cover will be compensated.

Residents living near the road elevation project — from Vikaspuri to Meera Bagh — have accused the PWD of not doing a proper impact report first and also digging at the roots of the trees to make it look like the trees fell on their own.

“The principle of sustainable development contemplates a balanced development and not a development which will completely and irretrievably destroy the environment,” Justice Swatanter Kumar,chairman of the bench,said.

For every tree removed,10 saplings should be planted,the chairman said. The committee comprising representatives from government agencies involved,must establish where and also if any of the trees can be transplanted. However,the NGT was only reimplementing the Forest department’s standards.

“It is primarily (the Forest department’s) stringent implementation that we are directing,” Kumar said,having earlier accused it of taking its own orders too lightly.

Later,the bench heard another case where a resident of Vasant Kunj has accused the PWD of uprooting hundreds of trees for a road-widening project. Three separate reports from government agencies submitted to the NGT have maintained that there has been some foul play.

However,counsel for the PWD and contractor awarded construction for the project maintain they have done nothing wrong. Kumar questioned the documents defending their cases they had submitted to the court on Tuesday,accusing them of making some up entirely.

“Be sure with this case we will send everybody to jail if we find you guilty,” he said.

The Outer Ring Road case will be heard again on July 31,and the Vasant Kunj case on August 6.

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