The National Green Tribunal has refused to order the demolition of the Siri Fort Sports Complex, including its squash and badminton courts.
The court said the complex and various constructed portions there would not be used for commercial or non-sport activities.
The green court, however, said projects in green areas should not be constructed in a “casual” manner and held that “the stadia and such huge projects preferably should not be constructed in such areas”.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has raised unauthorised constructions by felling trees on forest land.
The court directed DDA to pay R1 crore for rehabilitation and restoration of the area.
Disposing of a bunch of petitions, the bench declined the petitioner’s request seeking demolition of the Siri Fort Sports Complex, including the stadia and different facilities.
“We restrain the DDA and any other authorities from cutting and felling of trees or shrubs existing in any manner whatsoever in the entire area, forest and other areas surrounding the said complex,” the bench in an order said. It directed the DDA to plant 7,500 trees.
The green panel constituted a high-powered monitoring committee under the chairmanship of the Delhi chief secretary to supervise the compliance with directions and execution of the work around the project.
“The committee shall verify the claim of the DDA that it has planted 21,000 trees in that area. Depending upon such physical verification, the committee would issue appropriate directions for planting of such saplings of trees in the areas to be specified in addition to what has been directed in this order,” the bench said.
The tribunal’s judgment came on the pleas of Siri Fort Road Residents Welfare Association and others. The petitioners had alleged that in the name of Commonwealth Games, the entire project was constructed with serious damage to environment, ecology and against the principle of sustainable development.