Angry at civic agencies destroying the city’s green lungs by allowing the use of its parks for illegal purposes, Delhi High Court on Wednesday said it was high time they were told what parks are meant for.
“We think the notion of park needs to be rediscovered. The civic authorities need to be told what is a park. A large number of them are being let out for marriages while others being converted to stadiums,” the judges said.
A bench of Chief Justice AP Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar was hearing a petition challenging the construction of an indoor sports stadium by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in Ajmal Khan park in Karol Bagh.
“Will you do this to Nehru Park or Lodhi Garden? See the harm you are causing to the city… see the park had to be preserved,” the bench said. In a congested place like Karol Bagh, where will people go for fresh air if parks are converted to closed stadiums, the judges asked MCD counsel H.S. Phoolka.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO alleging the MCD has violated Master Plans-2001 and 2021 as the 24-acre area was marked as a “special area for park”. It contended that there was no other park for the people in the area.
‘Don’t suffocate trees’
The bench also demanded written undertakings from all civic agencies that they will maintain a distance of six feet around trees while concretizing pavements and carry on necessary demolitions on existing ones
The court was hearing a PIL based on reports in HT — ‘Friday’s storm took down 98 Delhi trees’ and ‘Concrete killing trees: says experts’ (August 23).
Nearly 100 trees had perished in rain and storm, which lashed the Capital on the evening of August 21. Citing expert opinion, the PIL blames concretization up to the tree-trunks on footpaths and roads and highways being the primary reason for trees getting weak as there is no space for it to suck air and water.