A former Union Minister has questioned the demolition of seven government residential colonies in South Delhi alleging that over 1.86 lakh trees would be destroyed in the process, leading the NGT to seek the views of the Centre and other parties on the matter.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Environment Ministry, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and state-owned construction firm National Buildings Construction Limited (NBCC) on the issue.
The National Green Tribunal also appointed advocate Sumeer Sodhi as amicus curiae to probe the matter after taking note of a letter written by RJD leader and former Union Minister Raghunath Jha on September 12.
“This is an application submitted by ex-Minister of State of Heavy Industries and Public Entrepreneurs, Government of India. We consider it as a fit case where notice should be issued to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, MoUD and NBCC,” the bench also comprising R S Rathore said.
The matter is listed for next hearing on November 2.
In his letter, Jha has alleged that Directorate of Estates “is demolishing” seven government residential colonies in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Thyagaraj Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur, comprising of type I-IV flats, from this month.
“These colonies fall in green-belt of Lutyens’ zone under New Delhi Municipal Council area which has been ranked number 1 in the list of clean and green city as well also chosen for smart city project of India. These 7 colonies are full of greenery including old ayurvedic trees and precious plants.
“The redevelopment of these colonies will demolish such 1,86,378 trees and plants which will be the major cause of global warming in India. NBCC’s argument of cultivation of double of destructed trees is false as it will take another 40-50 years for the trees to grow,” the letter said.
The Union Cabinet had in July approved the redevelopment of seven General Pool Residential Accommodation colonies in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Nauroji Nagar through the NBCC and in Kasturba Nagar, Thyagraj Nagar, Srinivaspuri and Mohammadpur through the Central Public Works Department to replace the existing housing stock.
The total estimated project cost of Rs 32,835 crore includes maintenance and operation cost for 30 years and will be completed in five years in a phased manner.
The Urban Development Ministry had moved the proposal to redevelop existing old dilapidated housing colonies to augment the housing stock under the Delhi Master Plan, using modern construction technology with green building norms.
( Source – PTI )