To make way for Delhi’s third ring road and two connecting spur roads to Haryana, around 17,000 trees, including those in protected forest areas, will need to be cut, as per a draft environmental impact assessment (EIA) report submitted to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC).
The Urban Extension Road II, being developed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), also passes through 9.28 hectares of protected forest land in the city as per the draft EIA prepared by a project consultant.
The 38-km stretch has been classified as National Highway number 344M and was proposed by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) as part of the Delhi Master Plan 2021 to decongest the city.
“Delhi being the national capital generates and attracts huge quantum of traffic not only from within Delhi but also from surrounding regions. To cater to this regional traffic, Inner and Outer ring roads were planned in 1962, of which only the inner ring road could be completed whereas outer ring road is still not a full ring,” the draft EIA reads.
“Non-Delhi destined traffic to and from north Indian states… has to pass through Delhi due to absence of alternate network. This leads to heavy congestion on the existing ring roads. To address this issue and further decongest Delhi, the DDA as part of the Master Plan 2021 proposed Urban Extension Road-2.”
The document states the highway would begin from Bankoli village in the north and terminate near the junction of Dwarka Sector 24 southwest of the city, passing through Narela, Bawana, Nangloi, Najafgarh and Kapashera. It will include dual three-lane carriageway and three-lane wide service road, along with provision for pedestrian walkways and cycle tracks.
Two spur roads connecting the highway to Barwasni bypass in Haryana’s Sonepat district and another to Bahadurgarh in Haryana’s Jhajjar district are also proposed. The document states that 9.28 hectares of protected forest land will need to be diverted for the project, and the forest area impacted under the project may increase after the forest department declares deemed forest land. “The alignment will require cutting of approximately 17,000 trees, including forest area,” the document states, adding that trees will be felled only after obtaining permission under the Forest Conservation Act 1980 and the local tree protection act.
As of Saturday, the head office of the Delhi forest department had not received an application for cutting of trees under the project, a senior official said. When asked if permissions for tree felling had been sought, Udeep Singhal, the Delhi NHAI regional officer, said these were “parallel activities” and did not elaborate further. The draft EIA mentions that some of the major species recorded in the corridor of impact were peepal, neem, khajoor, semal, and jamun, among others: “Ten trees for each tree cut will be planted as a part of compensatory afforestation. Plantation of about 1,70,000 trees is proposed.”
It adds that 224 households owning private properties will be affected by the project, impacting 794 persons. A resettlement action plan of Rs 1,272 crore has been prepared to address this. “Additional land of approximately 253.71 ha will be required for development of proposed roads… The area under the proposed Right of Way and the proposed alignment of NH majorly passes through agricultural land, hence there will be permanent change in the land use from agricultural to non-agricultural land..” ,” .
Near residential areas the land use will change from private to government land.
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