The Delhi government’s ambitious Ring Road By-pass project has run into another hurdle. The Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC) has objected to the felling of 1,000 trees to clear land for the 6 km Salimgarh Fort-Velodrome Road.
While DUAC wants the Public Works Department (PWD) to ‘rework the alignment’ of the project, senior PWD engineers say felling the trees is unavoidable if the project is to be executed at all.
PWD engineers say unless the trees are felled, they cannot meet Archaeological Survey of India’s basic condition of keeping the project at least 100 metres away from heritage sites.
“We will have to realign the road by about 20 metres towards the protected monument of Feroz Shah Kotla. Otherwise, felling trees is the only solution,” a senior PWD engineer told HT.
According to a senior PWD engineer, many of the trees that stand in the way are not even fully grown and not covered under the Forest Act.
“In any case, construction agencies are required to plant 10 times the number of trees they cut down for development projects, and we abide by that,” said a senior PWD engineer.
PWD officials say they are trying to work out a compromise with DUAC, as they face a strict deadline for the Commonwealth Games. “Though we are waiting for DUAC’s final go-ahead, we are working simultaneously to finalise the tender process,” said a PWD source.
The By-pass project has been conceived to decongest Ring Road between Indraprastha Estate and Hanuman Setu, behind the Red Fort.
According to a survey, more than 2.1 lakh vehicles pass through Rajghat and Shanti Van traffic intersections every day.