The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Gurgaon-based Ryan International School and Pama Educational and Welfare Society to immediately remove all encroachments from a plot and asked Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) to develop it as a public park.
The tribunal asked HUDA to demarcate and take possession of the land exceeding one-and-a-half acre from the society and school, fence it and develop it as a public park within eight weeks as envisaged in the master plan.
A bench headed by NGT judicial member justice MS Nambiar also restrained the school and the society from parking their buses on the public road outside the institution’s premises at Gurgaon’s sector 31-32A.
“Respondent numbers 2 and 3 (society and school) are directed to immediately remove all encroachment from the plot of land exceeding one-and-a-half acre allotted to them by HUDA if they are in possession of any excess land.
They shall be liable to environmental compensation for the encroached land, if found at the time of demarcation, at the rate of Rs 1,000 per square metre,” the bench said.
“Respondent numbers 2 and 3 are restrained from parking their buses on the public road outside the school premises. They are directed to keep all school vehicles within the premises only and shall effect boarding and de-boarding of students within the school premises and not on the roadside,” it said.
Regarding the park, the NGT said “it is an accepted fact that the public parks are public amenities and provide the breathing lungs for the otherwise densely populated urban areas and reduction in such areas would rob the residents of the open space and consequently access to fresh air and recreation guaranteed by the Constitution of India and as such the open spaces/public parks need to be protected”.
The order came on a plea filed by Gurgaon resident Rajiv Rattan alleging that the society and school have “illegally encroached” upon one acre of land earmarked for a public park and also started raising large-scale construction on it.
Countering the allegations, the society and school told the green panel that they have not encroached any land and none of their actions have led to endangering of environment or impairing the quality of life of people. They claimed there was no construction or building activity beyond the plan sanctioned and approved by the concerned authority.
HUDA told the bench that the applicant had no locus to challenge its decision to increase the area earmarked for public utility and as the authority was competent to do so, there was no illegality in the process.