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Saturday, Nov 23, 2019

Delhi HC pulls up agency over East Kidwai Nagar project

The remark came after the UTTIPEC counsel cited an HT report published on Monday detailing the three options under consideration to ease congestion.

delhi Updated: May 21, 2019 09:25 IST
Richa Banka
Richa Banka
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The court said it does not appear that the project was designed to reduce population density and traffic.
The court said it does not appear that the project was designed to reduce population density and traffic. (Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
         

The Delhi high court Monday said no traffic assessment was done nor was process followed by the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) in clearing the East Kidwai Nagar project.

The court said it does not appear that the project was designed to reduce population density and vehicular traffic in the neighbourhood.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru also said commercial space the East Kidwai Nagar project should be used only to cater to people living in the residential complexes and cannot be used for other commercial purposes.

The court was hearing a petition filed by senior advocate Aman Lekhi and advocate Manali Singhal in 2014, which alleged that the plan for the East Kidwai Nagar redevelopment project, meant to accommodate government officials, was done without considering environmental implications, road space, or rights of residents.

Appearing for UTTIPEC, its counsel indicated that no independent traffic impact assessment (TIA) was carried out before granting approval to the project. He told the court that presentations were made by the NBCC, which built the project, based on which they had raised objections and suggestions. These were to be addressed by the NBCC.

The Union government is engaged in massive residential redevelopment along Ring Road.

As per the plan, eight areas are being developed as group housing societies — East Kidwai Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur.

The Centre is proposing to build over 25,000 flats for government employees in these neighbourhoods in addition to 4,700 flats already built in East Kidwai Nagar near South Extension-1.

Highlighting a news report published in Hindustan Times on May 20, on the plan to construct elevated roads in the city, the UTTIPEC counsel said they would now rectify mistakes by having elevated roads for East Kidwai Nagar as well as the other housing colonies.

This did not go well with the court, which remarked, “Then you occupy buildings only when the elevated roads are made.”

“No endeavour was made to verify any of the report submitted to it. On the contrary, in the minutes of the 42nd meeting of the UTTIPEC, approval was given to the project clearly indicating that TIA as a comprehensive report could not be provided to the UTTIPEC...,” the court said.

The public works department (PWD) is planning a 9km contiguous flyover on Ring Road to decongest the crucial stretch. The proposal is part of a plan to handle an additional vehicular load on Ring Road.

IIT professor Geetam Tiwari, who had come to assist the court, pointed out loopholes in the project and stated that every meeting that was conducted for East Kidwai Nagar was in terms of the transit oriented development (TOD) as the idea was to increase the use of public transport. She said the project should have been developed as TOD but it was not, resulting in congestion. It is pertinent to mention that Aurobindo Marg and Ring Road are already clogged. Tiwari also mentioned traffic would increase if the project is allowed.

Following this, the court said, “It does not appear that this project is designed to reduce density and vehicular traffic.”

The court also issued notice to the Archaeological Survey of India to examine aspects that the elements of art and architecture of monuments such as the Darya Khan tomb have been used in the facades of the building.

The matter would be now heard on May 29