The Commonwealth Games Village has finally crossed its last legal hurdle.
Rejecting objections of ‘Waterman’ Rajinder Singh and another environmental activist V.K. Jain that the constructions were on the Yamuna riverbed, the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the government to go ahead with the construction of the 1,100 super-deluxe flats for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan set aside the November 3, 2008, order of the Delhi High Court that put restrictions on the construction keeping in mind the likely damage to the environment.
Acting on public interest petitions filed by Singh and Jain, the high court had appointed an expert committee to review the constructions.
The SC bench, also comprising Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S Chauhan, gave its green signal to the project saying it did not pose any environmental hazard.
But the bench said as assured by Attorney General of India G.E. Vahanvati, a committee approved by the Prime Minister consisting of Lt Governor and Chief Minister of Delhi, and other members from various departments would monitor the project in association with noted environmentalist Dr R.K. Pachauri.
The verdict comes as a major relief to the Centre and the Delhi government, which had told the Supreme Court that if the high court directions were to be followed, it would jeoparadise the conduct of the games.
In the two games village towers, 1,068 super-deluxe flats are being constructed for the stay of 8,000 athletes and games officials from 71 countries for the 2010 mega sports event involving 17 disciplines of sports.
The bench set aside the high court order saying, “The observation and conclusion of the high court that the site in question is on a riverbed cannot be sustained.”
It said: “The high court disregarded and ignored material scientific literature and the opinion of experts and scientific bodies which have categorically held that the games village site is neither located on a riverbed nor on the floodplain.”
It also noted that the Supreme Court had in 2005 cleared the Akshardham Temple project, which is adjacent to the Games Village.