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Another blow to Games project

delhi Updated: Mar 02, 2009 23:09 IST
Bhadra Sinha

A petition has challenged the Delhi High Court judgement that refused to halt the work at upcoming Commonwealth Games village despite concluding that all requisite clearances were “tainted and manipulated”.

Magsaysay award winner Rajinder Singh has moved the Supreme Court against the on-going construction.

Singh and three co-petitioners including INTACH have warned of serious environmental damage likely to be caused due to high-rise buildings on the Yamuna riverbed.

Acting on the petition a bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan has issued notices to the Delhi government, Union Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.

The petitioners’ counsel Sanjay Parekh claimed the DDA went ahead with development of the riverbed in violation of NEERI's 2005 report.

In its general guidelines NEERI had specifically recommended against any residential or industrial facilities requiring permanent structures on the riverbed.

Contrary to NEERI's report, the DDA changed the land use of the site in question from agricultural and water to residential (11 hectares) and commercial (5.5 hectares).

In fact, the development authority also turned down the request of Expert Appraisal Committee, constituted to examine DDA's proposal to develop the village, to consider an alternative site.

The committee had advised the DDA to find an alternative site not involving such environmental issues and indicated Safdarjung Airport as the appropriate place.

The request was, however, turned down on the ground that the land was not with the DDA. The authority further failed to examine any other location for the village.

According to Singh and the other petitioners even the Ministry of Environment’s clearance on January 22, 2007 permitted DDA to go ahead with the construction, permanent or temporary, subject to the condition that the actual work on permanent structures will not start until the “mitigation abatement” measures against upstream flooding are identified.