5 projects cleared on Delhi Ridge, nearly 100 trees to be hit | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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5 projects cleared on Delhi Ridge, nearly 100 trees to be hit

Sep 24, 2023 11:28 PM IST

39 trees will be transplanted or felled for the new lab complex by IUAC, which will be built over 0.29 hectares of geo-morphological Ridge.

Delhi’s Ridge Management Board (RMB) has cleared five development projects in areas falling in Ridge or Ridge-like areas which will allow nearly 100 trees to be felled or transplanted, according to officials aware of the matter.

Any permission for construction or development work in Ridge areas has to be cleared by RMB. The body considers the geo-morphological Ridge — areas not demarcated as the Ridge but display Ridge-like features. (HT Photo)
Any permission for construction or development work in Ridge areas has to be cleared by RMB. The body considers the geo-morphological Ridge — areas not demarcated as the Ridge but display Ridge-like features. (HT Photo)

The total area cleared for the said projects — including the construction of a new lab complex by the Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) near Jawaharlal Nehru University and a Central Armed Police Forces Institute of Medical Sciences (CAPFIMS) in Maidangarhi, is around 16.34 hectares, the officials added. The projects were cleared last month. These projects are now pending further clearance from the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

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Thirty-nine trees will be transplanted or felled for the new lab complex by IUAC, which will be built over 0.29 hectares of geo-morphological Ridge. Meanwhile, seven trees will be felled to build a new office building for Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Rizal Marg in Chanakyapuri, for which only 0.08 hectares of land was required.

Nearly seven hectares of ridge area will be cleared for the CAPFIMS in Maidangarhi but an assessment of the trees that will be impacted is yet to be carried out. However, citing “irreparable damage” to flora and fauna, the body has put a proposal by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on hold which sought to divert traffic through the forest land for two years near IGNOU in Maidangarhi for the construction of Neb Sarai Metro station on the upcoming Silver Line (Tughlakabad to Aerocity).

RMB, in a meeting held on August 24, said an on-ground inspection will be required at the site before that land is temporarily given to DMRC. “DMRC is seeking permission for the temporary diversion of traffic through an alternative route involving forest areas to ease the traffic situation so that construction activities can be undertaken... a field visit may be undertaken by the board members to ascertain the situation on the ground, as opening of the road through forest area for two years will lead to irreparable damage to the existing flora and fauna,” said the minutes of the meeting, a copy of which HT has seen.

Meanwhile, RMB added DMRC may also look for other alternatives, including deployment of additional marshals for effective traffic management. A DMRC spokesperson said they were yet to receive a copy of the minutes. “Necessary measures shall be taken as per directions, with due consultation of all concerned departments,” the spokesperson said.

If the proposal is cleared, 55 trees will be impacted over a forest area of 0.62 hectares.

Any permission for construction or development work in Ridge areas has to be cleared by RMB. The body considers the geo-morphological Ridge — areas not demarcated as the Ridge but display Ridge-like features. RMB has also permitted to fell or transplant 40 trees over 0.27 hectares in Maidangarhi, to build the administrative block of IGNOU and two roads — 2.7km between Chhatarpur Road, South Asian University and CAPFIMS — which will impact another seven trees.

Meanwhile, experts said the Ridge areas need to be protected, and granting easy permissions was doing the opposite of that. “...encroachments in the Ridge are hard to remove and if RMB does not stop developments in the Ridge, we will lose more green cover each time a meeting is held,” said Sonya Ghosh, an activist.

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