Noting that “simultaneous consideration” of the same issue at different legal forums was not appropriate, the National Green Tribunal on Wednesday deferred proceedings on a plea seeking stay on the proposed tree felling in seven south Delhi colonies. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the Delhi High Court was already seized of the issue and parallel proceedings should be avoided.
The green panel said it would look into the issue once the high court decides the matter. “The order of Delhi High Court dated July 4, proceeded on the same issue… simultaneous consideration of same issue at different legal fora is not appropriate. Accordingly we defer proceedings,” the bench, also comprising Jawad Rahim and S P Wangdi, said.
The tribunal had earlier extended its order to maintain status quo on tree felling in seven south Delhi colonies by the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry and the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).
On the last date of hearing, the tribunal had said not a single tree would be cut and status quo be maintained on tree felling till further orders. The green panel had directed the project proponents to make a categorical statement and inform it about the exact number of trees proposed to be cut for the redevelopment project for about half a dozen colonies.
The tribunal was hearing a plea by NGO Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions and Promotion of National Awareness, Green Circle and city resident Utkarsh Bansal seeking a stay on the proposed felling of more than 16,000 trees for re-development of the colonies.
The petitioners claimed that environmental clearance has been granted for seven general pool residential colonies without taking into account the possible adverse effect on the ecology. It said clearance had been granted for colonies in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Nauroji Nagar through the NBCC and in Kasturba Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur through the CPWD.
The plea claimed that planting of saplings at another location as compensatory afforestation would not reduce the burden put on the environment due to large-scale felling of trees. The petition has made the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the CPCB, the Delhi Development Authority, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the CPWD and others as parties in the case.
The plea said an environment impact assessment report for the project around south Delhi showed that 11,000 trees will be cut in Sarojini Nagar, 1,465 in Nauroji Nagar, 3,033 in Netaji Nagar and another 520 will be cut in Kasturba Nagar, out of a total of 19,976 trees in these areas.
The re-development scheme plans to replace existing flats of Type I to IV with a built-up area of around 7.49 lakh square metres with Type II to VI units with built-up area of around 29.18 lakh square metres with supporting infrastructure facilities.
The projects will also develop government office accommodation of nearly 2.42 lakh square metres in Netaji Nagar. The total estimated project cost of Rs 32,835 crore includes maintenance and operation costs for 30 years and will be completed in five years in a phased manner.