SC panel inspects Metro Phase 4 sites to see if trees can be saved
The Supreme Court-constituted Central Empowered Committee (CEC) on Wednesday conducted the first round of inspections of the Delhi Metro Phase 4 construction, after a petition was filed before the Delhi high court to save over 11,000 trees that are proposed to be felled to make way for the new corridors.
In a petition before the Delhi high court, it was submitted that for the construction of three of DMRC corridors —Janakpuri-RK Ashram, Maujpur-Majlis Park and Aerocity-Tughlakabad—the Metro had sought permission to cut 11,454 trees. The petitioners had also sought a change in alignment of Metro Phase 4, from above ground to underground.
The members of CEC, chief project manager of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), representatives from the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) and the petitioner of the case, urban ecologist Vallari Sheel, visited the under-construction site on the Janakpuri-RK Ashram corridor on Wednesday, to ascertain whether trees, which have been marked by the DMRC for felling, can be saved.
“The team inspected stretches, including the Najafgarh drain, Mangolpuri, and section of the Outer Ring Road between Derawal Nagar near Mukarba Chowk and Pul Bangash. The inspection ended at RK Ashram, the other end of the proposed Metro corridor,” an official present during the inspection on Wednesday said, on condition of anonymity.
The official added, “The second round of inspections are scheduled for Friday, when the Aerocity-Tughlakabad corridor of the DMRC will be inspected.”
On February 11, the high court had asked the CEC to “consider as representation” the plea, which contended that felling over 11,000 trees for the Metro construction would have an adverse effect on the ambient air quality of the national capital, where pollution is already at critical levels.
In a notice issued on February 15, CEC member secretary had called the Delhi chief secretary, principal chief conservator forests (PCCF), public works department (PWD) engineer-in-chief, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) member secretary, as well as representatives of the Union ministry of environment forests and climate change (MoEFCC) and ministry of housing and urban affairs, to hear the grievances of the petitioners.