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Green tribunal spanner in signal-free road project

The construction of three elevated roads from Vikaspuri to Mukarba Chowk on Outer Ring Road in west Delhi may get delayed as the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday put on hold the felling of trees for the projects as it felt "there was no concrete plan to make up for the green loss". Darpan Singh reports.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2013 01:36 IST
Darpan Singh

The construction of three elevated roads from Vikaspuri to Mukarba Chowk on Outer Ring Road in west Delhi may get delayed as the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday put on hold the felling of trees for the projects as it felt "there was no concrete plan to make up for the green loss".

These three elevated roads are part of the Delhi government's bigger project to make the Vikaspuri-Wazirabad stretch signal-free by constructing flyovers and elevated roads. The chief minister has been laying foundation stones for various stretches, including the one in question, since February this year.

Although the secretary (environment and forests) had allowed the public works department (PWD) to cut 1,476 trees for the three elevated roads in question, the tribunal said: "Most trees are fully grown. Their uprooting will have immediate and serious impact on the environment. Delhi is one of the polluting cities in the world. Greenery is probably the most important savoir of environment."

"The Delhi government is taking such matters very lightly and orders are being issued in a very mechanical fashion. Proper application of mind by forest experts is needed," the tribunal said.

Stressing that the shifting of trees wherever possible, saving existing trees and doing compensatory plantations are prerequisites for tree-felling permission, the tribunal formed an expert committee to examine these issues. The panel will submit its report in a week.

"Sapling plantation shall start forthwith. The progress be reported to the tribunal on the next date of hearing (July 31)," the tribunal said. The PWD said no trees had been cut so far for the project, but the bench questioned them on the pictures of cut and damaged trees provided by the petitioner.

The tribunal sought to know if the project had got an environment impact assessment clearance. The Union ministry of environment and forests has sought time to clarify.