To Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati's relief, the Supreme Court on Friday said the controversial Ambedkar park project in Noida was not on forest land and gave the green light to it, with some riders.
Holding that "the project is not so calamitous to the (Okhla) bird sanctuary that it needs to be scrapped," a forest bench headed by chief justice of India SH Kapadia, however, imposed certain conditions on the park spread across 34 acres.
It said hard (concrete) landscaping should not exceed 25% of the park area. Fifty per cent of the area, closer and adjacent to the sanctuary, must have thick tree cover while the remaining 25% could be used for green landscaping.
To ensure these conditions are fulfilled, it formed a panel - comprising a representative each from the environment ministry, the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee and the Noida Authority chairman - to oversee construction.
The bench - which had stayed all construction on the park on October 9, 2009 - based its judgment on the recommendations of three expert bodies hired by Noida Authority, the project proponents, to study the project.
The court made several suggestions: periodical removal of water hyacinth to ensure better quality of water, artificial nest boxes along the sanctuary boundary to enhance breeding of birds, extensive planting of native species suitable for urban habitat and re-vegetation to compensate the loss of vegetation due to the felling of trees.