Delhi High Court bans felling of 16,500 trees in south Delhi

The government had approved felling of 16,500 trees in the city for revamping south Delhi. Photo for representative purpose only.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), tasked with redeveloping half a dozen south Delhi colonies, on Monday assured the Delhi High Court not to cut any trees for the project till July 4.

‘Can Delhi afford it?’

The NBCC’s statement came after a vacation Bench of Justices Vinod Goel and Rekha Palli said it was inclined to order an interim stay of the tree chopping process. “You know the effect it would have. I understand if it was widening of road or something inevitable. Can Delhi afford it today,” the Bench remarked.

The NBCC and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) are in the process of felling over 16,500 trees for redevelopment of six south Delhi colonies.

Petitioner Kaushal Kant Mishra, an orthopaedic surgeon, has sought setting aside of the terms of reference and the environmental clearances (EC) granted to the project by the Environment Ministry.

The Bench initially asked the NBCC to “stay its hands” till July 2, when a similar issue would be heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), and asked the petitioner to approach the tribunal too.

The NBCC said the NGT had the jurisdiction to hear pleas, challenging environmental clearances granted to any project by the Centre. It said that it had deposited ₹8 crore with the tree authority for permission to fell trees.

The Central government counsel, appearing for the Ministries of Environment and Housing, said the ECs given by the Centre were in accordance with the earlier orders of the NGT.

Mr. Mishra’s counsel contended that the matter also involved permission given in November last year by the tree authority of the Delhi government to fell the trees and this decision could not be challenged in the NGT.

The court gave Mr. Mishra, time till July 4 to amend his plea and challenge the tree authority’s decision.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 11:31:09 PM |

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