Kejriwal residence construction row: NGT forms committee to look into allegations of environmental norms violation
National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday constituted a joint committee comprising the Chief Secretary, Delhi, the Principal Secretary (Environment and Forest), Delhi, a nominee of Delhi Urban Art Commission and District Magistrate of North Delhi to ascertain the factual position on the allegations of violating environmental norms during the construction of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence.
Tribunal appointed committee after hearing a plea alleged violation of environmental norms in constructions at 6 Flag Staff Road and 45-47 Rajpur Road, New Delhi by PWD, Delhi.
The plea alleged that, in the course of development, permanent and semi-permanent constructions have been raised by cutting more than 20 trees.
The petition was filed by a Delhi-based Environmentalist through Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal. The Tribunal headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has sought a reponse from Delhi Government and its authorities and has directed them to submit a status report on the allegations.
In its application filed through Advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, the applicant has stated that
the Delhi government’s Public Works Department (PWD) constructed the Delhi Chief Minister’s residence without taking approval from the Delhi Urban Act Commission, a statutory body which approves the construction of buildings in the Union Territory of Delhi w.r.t. quality and environmental design.
Bansal in his arguments also apprised NGT that as per the 2009 order issued by Forest Department, Delhi Government, all applications seeking permission for felling of trees numbering 10 to 20 and more than 20 trees have to be processed and submitted to the Conservator of Forests and Secretary (E&F), Government of NCT of Delhi only.
“However, in the present case, PWD officials for the sake of speedy construction of the CM’s residence willfully, deliberately and with a malafide intention, circumvented its Government Order and as such filed 5 separate applications for felling/transplantation of 9, 2, 6, 6, 5 trees”, the petition read.
Bansal, also highlighted that as per the permission issued by Delhi Forest Department, PWD Department was directed to plant tree saplings of 280 trees at Green Belt, Metcalfe House, DRDO Complex, Delhi.
However, during the site inspection conducted by the Forest Officers of Delhi Forest Department dated May 5, 2023, it was found that out of 280 trees, the PWD Department has planted only 83 Ficus Virens Trees, the plea said.
The whole object of imposing the condition of Compulsory Plantation by the Delhi Forest Department was to protect the forest cover of the national capital but the PWD Department by way of circumventing the order dated February 10, 2009, issued by the Forest Department further by way of not carrying out the mandatory tree plantation has failed to protect the forest cover of the national capital, Bansal argued before the NGT.
Observing the seriousness of the case, the principal bench of the National Green Tribunal headed by Chairman Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has issued notices to Government of NCT of Delhi and others and as such has directed them to submit a status report within 3 weeks.
The NGT posted the matter for hearing on 31 May 2023.
“In view of the above averments and the significance of the requirement of compliance for cutting trees and providing green belt as a condition for constructions in the congested and polluted city of Delhi, we consider it necessary to ascertain the factual position by constituting a joint Committee”, said the Tribunal.
This report is filed by ANI news service.
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