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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court asked today How can the national capital afford the felling of over 16,500 trees for a housing project.

Taking note of the views expressed by the court which appeared inclined to order an interim stay of the tree chopping process, the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), tasked with redeveloping half a dozen south Delhi colonies, agreed not to cut any tree till July 4.
The NBCC made the statement after a vacation bench of Justices Vinod Goel and Rekha Palli asked,”Can Delhi today afford cutting down of so many trees for a housing complex? We could understand if it was a road-widening work which is inevitable.”
It initially asked NBCC to “stay its hands” till July 2 when a similar issue would be heard by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and asked the petitioner, an orthopaedic surgeon, to approach the tribunal.
The court’s observations came after the NBCC said the NGT had the jurisdiction to hear pleas challenging environment clearances (EC) granted to any project by the Centre.

NBCC, represented by senior advocate J P Seng, told the court that it has also deposited Rs eight crore with the tree authority for permission to fell trees.


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