The Delhi Development Authority (DDA)’s failure to plant trees on a piece of vacant land despite a court order “borders on denial of human rights” by an authority duty-bound to protect the land and to green the areas under its jurisdiction, the Delhi High Court has said.
The court, on April 15, 2019, had ordered the DDA to plant trees on a piece of land under its management in the national capital and the entire plantation was to be completed by July 13, 2019, but no action has been taken by the authority till date, according to the court order. An SLP before the Supreme Court against the High Court order was dismissed in January this year.
“Two monsoons have gone by and hundreds of thousands of trees, which could have taken roots in the said area, whereby the city and its residents would have been benefited by a near 5-year-old forest, there is an inexplicable lapse on part of DDA,” Justice Najmi Waziri said in the order.
Observing that it is not merely the court’s order that has been disregarded, the court further said the citizens of Delhi and its adjoining cities have also been deprived of fresh oxygen and reduction of pollution in the area, “which plagues the city throughout the year”.
“The foul air gets especially pronounced during October/November and during the winter months. Children, elderly and the indisposed are left gasping for fresh air. The lakhs of trees, if planted, would have brought some element of respite to them in particular and to the city in general,” it further said.
DDA earlier submitted before the court that a programme of plantation has been prepared under the expert advice of environmental scientists from Delhi University, who have earlier assisted it in developing the Yamuna Biodiversity Park and Arvali Biodiversity Park.
In the order dated December 18, the court directed the DDA Director (Horticulture) to file an affidavit within three weeks and the progress report regarding compliance of the directions. “The DDA shall request the Chief Environmental Scientist of the report, to be present to assist the court on the next date,” it said, while listing the case for next hearing on February 1.
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