No felling of trees in Delhi till further order, says NGT

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Monday directed the Centre and NBCC (India) Limited to maintain ‘status quo’ and not fell any trees for the redevelopment project in south Delhi colonies till July 19.

A Bench headed by NGT Acting Chairperson Jawad Rahim also directed NBCC to make a categorical statement on how many trees are to be felled for the project.

“We direct the respondents (NBCC and Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs) to maintain status quo, particularly relating to felling of trees, and direct that there shall be no felling, cutting or destruction of trees till further order by this Tribunal. Further, we direct the project proponent to make a categorical statement with regard to actual number of trees they intend to fell,” the Bench said.

The green panel also issued notices to the MoHUA, NBCC, Central Pollution Control Board, Central Public Works Department, civic bodies and others. It has sought replies from the authorities before July 19.

Three petitions

The directions came while the green panel was hearing three different petitions seeking a stay on the felling of trees.

One of the petitions alleged that environmental clearances for the project were granted without taking into account the adverse affects of felling of trees.

“The contention of the applicant is that the project activity involves felling of more than 17,000 trees, which will destroy the ecology and adversely affect the environment,” the Bench observed.

The Delhi High Court had on June 25 asked how the national Capital could afford felling of trees for the housing project. During the hearing, the NBCC gave an undertaking that it will not cut any trees till July 4.

Noting that the matter is being heard at the High Court, the Tribunal noted that the “proposal of the project proponent to fell several trees, whether be it 17,000 more or less, is likely to seriously impact the environment unless proper impact assessment is done”.

The petitioners also asked for the trees to be incorporated within the existing plans for redevelopment.

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