SDMC shifting responsibility to trap and translocate monkeys : Delhi High Court

The AAP government told the Delhi High Court Tuesday that the South Delhi Municipal Corporation was shifting the responsibility of trapping and translocating monkeys from the city.

The Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW) of Delhi government said the civic agency cannot abdicate its responsibility on the pretext of a letter which is not valid in respect of trapping the monkeys from habitation areas.

The CWW’s submission came in an affidavit filed before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao which listed the matter for further hearing on March 6.

“The contention of SDMC about the local body being not empowered to catch monkeys is not valid,” said the affidavit, filed through Delhi government additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal.

“By making such application, it is a move by the municipal corporation to shift the responsibility of trapping and translocation of monkeys from the inhabited areas and the civic agency cannot abdicate its responsibility on the pretext of a letter which is not valid in respect of trapping monkeys from habitation areas of Delhi,” it said.

It also stated that the monkeys in the inhabited areas in Delhi are commensal in nature and not those found in the wild and these commensal monkeys have evolved by adapting themselves to live close to human habitations and sustain on food provided by the residents of the nearby areas.

The court was informed that in pursuance to earlier direction, a meeting of all the concerned authorities was held under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary (Urban Development) on January 23.

The Delhi government said officials of all the civic agencies in the national capital had participated in the meeting and action points, which are to be followed, were decided to implement the judgement of the high court in tackling monkey menace here.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by advocate Meera Bhatia for directions to the authorities to take steps to deal with the menace of monkeys in the city.

The court had earlier noted that the problem of increasing monkey population was “aggravating with each passing day” and that the increase in simian numbers would not wait for testing of the oral vaccine for sterilising them.

NGO Wildlife SOS had earlier told the court that monkey population is rapidly increasing in urban areas due to the easy access to food, especially in garbage, as compared to forest areas where they have to forage for food.

The SDMC had earlier told the court that it “lacked the expertise” and was ill-equipped to catch monkeys.

Advocate Gaurang Kanth, appearing for the SDMC, had made the submission while seeking modification of the court’s 2007 direction to it to catch monkeys and relocate them in the Ridge area of the city.

The Delhi government, in the affidavit, added that that it had floated two tenders for catching and sterilising monkeys, but it found no takers.

It said it has been decided in the January meeting that in case the bid fails for the third time, the animal husbandry department may be assigned the job of earmarking at least one animal hospital within each MCDs and New Delhi Municipal Council to start the work of laparoscopic sterilisation of monkeys at least in four such identified hospitals.

The strength of doctors and other supporting staff may be enriched by the fund provided by Ministry of Environment and Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), placed at the disposal of CWW, it said, adding that the animal husbandry department may strengthen infrastructure facilities for smooth process of sterilisation of simians.

The affidavit stated that entire cost of sterilisation and post sterilisation care would be met by the funds give by MoEF and there would not be any burden of Delhi government or civic agencies.

“The job of catching the monkeys, transporting them to animal hospital ear marked for sterilisation and then releasing them back to the same location would be done by the concerned civic agency under the supervision of enforcement committee headed by CWW,” it said.

It said that till the sterilisation process begins, the job of catching monkeys and releasing them in Asola Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary will be continued by the civic agencies as per the high court’s order.

The high court had earlier asked the Delhi government to come out with an alternative plan to reduce the increasing monkey population in the national capital if it was not finding any bidders for its tenders to sterilise the simians.

HC restrains housing project owner

New Delhi:More home buyers have dragged the owner and builder of a housing project in Dwarka to the Delhi High Court which restrained realtors from cancelling their allotment as they have not taken possession of flats which allegedly lack even basic amenities.

Justice V Kameswar Rao restrained Uppal Housing Pvt Ltd, on whose land the complex is built, and Umang Realtech Pvt Ltd, the developer, till July 6 from cancelling the allotment of these 12 home buyers.

The housing project Winter Hills is located next to Dwarka Mor Metro Station in south west Delhi.
“Till the next date of hearing in the court, the respondent nos. 3 and 4 (Uppal and Umang) shall not cancel the allotment letter of the petitioners (home buyers),” the judge said.

The Delhi court issued notice and sought response of SDMC, owner and builder of the project and RERA on the homebuyer’s plea, filed through advocate Sanam Siddiqui, and fixed the matter for July 6 for proceedings before a joint registrar.

The court had on May 28 passed a similar order on a separate petition by other home buyers who have also made identical allegations against the project owner and developer.

In the fresh petition, Siddiqui said, the home buyers have sought quashing of occupancy certificate granted to the project owner and builder by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) alleging that the project lacks basic amenities, licences and necessary approvals.

It claimed that the buyers were threatened with cancellation of their allotment and some of them have paid nearly Rs two crore for a unit in the project.

The advocate in the earlier petition had submitted that the website of RERA (Delhi) does not state that the developer has received registration number and alleged that it was a clear case where the “developer was acting with impunity and state authorities were helping him”.

The court had said that at this stage it was not going into the issue of staying the advertisement issued by the developer in newspapers that it was in receipt of RERA registration number.

In February, the high court  had issued notice to the SDMC, Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), Umang Realtech Pvt Ltd and Uppal Housing Pvt Ltd seeking their response on the petition which has sought direction to quash the occupancy certificate issued by the civic body.

The plea has claimed that home buyers who have taken possession are facing problems due to lack of basic amenities and necessary facilities, including electricity and water.

It claimed that the project was launched thrice- 2006, 2009 and 2011 and most of the home buyers booked flats in 2011 and were promised delivery in 2014.

However, the project was not completed by 2014, and while the home buyers waited for delivery of their apartments, they found certain discrepancies, it has claimed.

The home buyers have said the authorities are not willing to provide them documents relating to clearances which the project has received.

HC to Delhi govt: Ensure proper street-lighting in city

The Delhi High Court today directed the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the civic bodies to ensure proper street-lighting in the national capital on a plea alleging that the LED lights on public roads and streets of south Delhi were not functioning.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar disposed of the petition after the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) informed it that according to a joint inspection by the civic bodies, the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the manufacturer of the lights, the BSES and the petitioners, 97 per cent of the street lights were functioning.

“During the pendency of the matter, a joint inspection stands conducted. Parties have participated. Respondent 5 (SDMC) has submitted that 97 per cent of the lights were functional. Nodal officers from the Delhi government to look into the functioning of street lights and hold regular meeting with the petitioners. Ensure that proper street lights are provided. The petition is disposed of,” the bench said.

The petition was filed by south Delhi residents Manjeet Singh Chugh and Ravi Gopal Krishnan, alleging that the LED lights on the public roads and streets of south Delhi were either not working or not being maintained or replaced.

During the hearing, the petitioners had sought a third-party investigation into the condition of the nearly two lakh street lights.

“The street lights are improper. The illumination is inadequate and there is no proper earthing,” the petitioners had told the court.

They had also pointed out that several crimes were committed on the Delhi roads as they continued to be dark.

“There are electric poles and lights but they never work or are very dim. If they are properly maintained, many crimes can be averted,” the petition had said, adding that vast stretches of the roads remained dark, despite crores of rupees being spent on LED lighting.

No eatery in Hauz Khas Village has sanctioned building plan:HC

 Not a single restaurant or pub in south Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village have taken a sanctioned building plan from the municipal authorities to run their businesses, the Delhi High Court has observed.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar made the observation after the south Delhi municipal corporation (SDMC) replied in the negative to a court query whether it had sanctioned a single building plan for an eatery or a pub in the area.

“Have you sanctioned even a single building plan for a restaurant,” it had asked the SDMC and said, “not one (restaurant) has taken a sanctioned building plan”.

The court also said the municipal corporation “does not apply its mind” on whether sufficient space and other facilities for the public are in place when it permits such establishments to come up.

The corporation in its defence said it was not the only one to be blamed for the situation and it was a collective failure of all authorities concerned.

The observations by the bench came during the hearing of arguments in the PILs filed by social activist Pankaj Sharma and advocate Anuja Kapur, who have also alleged that over 120 pubs and restaurants were running in the Hauz Khas Village without any approved building plans or no objection certificate (NOC) from the authorities including the fire department.

The arguments will continue on January 19.

The petitioners in their pleas have also alleged that the streets in the village were not wide enough for a fire tender to move easily in case of an emergency.

The court had earlier termed the Hauz Khas Village as “a ticking time bomb”.

NGT raps SDMC over figures on waste in Delhi

NGT raps SDMC over figures on waste in Delhi
NGT raps SDMC over figures on waste in Delhi

The National Green Tribunal today rapped the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) over “inaccurate” data on various kinds of waste generated in the national capital daily.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar took strong exception over the data submitted by SDMC which said that Delhi generates nearly 10,000 tonnes municipal solid waste (MSW) per day besides other kinds of waste, which is processed at different plants.

The municipal corporation told the bench that apart from MSW, it also collects construction and debris (C&D) waste, flyash and silt from drains which is taken to waste-to-energy plants at Okhla, Ghazipur and Bawana for disposal.

However, when the bench enquired about the mechanism to segregate construction debris from solid waste, SDMC said it was being done by waste-to-energy plants at Ghazipur and Bawana and 3900 tonnes of C&D was separately taken there.

While noting that there was a difference in figures of collected C&D material and the quantity disposed of by three waste-to-energy plants, the green panel asked the corporation to clarify the issue by tomorrow.

“What is the use of submitting incorrect and false data.

You never realise your duty and that is why no problem is solved in the courts. Instead of giving clear figures, you always try to mislead the tribunal. How did you come to the figure you have submitted to us. We are not interested in your impressive reports,” the bench said.

The hearing remained inconclusive and will continue tomorrow.

Concerned over delay in the operationalising the waste- to-energy plants in capital, the tribunal had earlier constituted a “high-powered team” to inspect the plants at Okhla, Ghazipur and Bawana.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Sukhdev Vihar Residents Welfare Association praying for closure of waste-to- energy plant alleging that it uses illegal mass burning technology, causing air pollution.

In its application, the association had also told NGT that as per observations of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, mass burning technology should be stopped immediately.

( Source – PTI )

NGT directs Delhi govt to probe tree felling by SDMC

NGT directs Delhi govt to probe tree felling by SDMC
NGT directs Delhi govt to probe tree felling by SDMC

National Green Tribunal today rapped the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) for felling trees while constructing storm water drains and directed the Forest Department of Delhi Government to probe the issue within a week.

A bench headed by Justice S P Wangdi did not stay the construction work of storm water drains as sought by the petitioner, but criticised the SDMC for violating its April 2013 orders to public authorities not to carry out construction and repair within one metre radius of trees.
NGT passed the order on the plea of green enthusiast and lawyer Aditya Prasad who had said that SDMC was digging trenches for construction of the drains in New Friends Colony without any consideration for the trees on the roadside.

“We direct the Forest Department of the Delhi Government through its concerned officer to investigate the matter and probe whether damage has been done and if so to what extent,” the bench said, asking it to submit the report within a week.

The matter is now posted for next hearing on July 4.

The tribunal had earlier issued notice to SDMC Commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel citing violation of its April 2013 orders.

“A complaint regarding the aforesaid damage was recorded by a local resident at the police station New Friends Colony on May 31. However no action was taken by the police to stop the violation of the directions of this tribunal and the work has continued unabated.

“Stay the works being undertaken by SDMC and direct it to examine the lay outs of the drains so that adequate space is left around the trees and direct the contemnor to cover the exposed roots with soil and further more fill soil/humus wherever it has been removed,” the plea had said.

In April 2013, NGT had prohibited excavation work within one metre radius of trees and directed the removal of concrete structures surrounding the plantations within a metre.

It had directed public authorities like Municipal Corporations of Delhi, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Transport Corporation, National Highways Authority of India that signboards, advertisements, boards and nails be removed from trees.

In July 2013, the green panel had directed that provisions ensuring compliance of these directions be included in contracts of roads and pavements.

( Source – PTI )

Flouting bldng norms: NGT asks SDMC to act against big players

Flouting bldng norms: NGT asks SDMC to act against big players
Flouting bldng norms: NGT asks SDMC to act against big players

The National Green Tribunal has taken exception to South Delhi Municipal Corporation’s levy of fine on “minor” nature of construction violation and directed it to crack the whip on commercial builders.

The green panel expressed displeasure on the penalty imposed on constructions being carried out on smaller plots rather than initiating action against big players in the real estate sector.

“Have you (SDMC) challaned a single builder for violation of construction norms? Have you caught hold of single commercial builder in South Delhi,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The observation came during hearing of a case related to air pollution in which it had last year issued notices to various persons to show cause why environmental compensation of Rs 50,000 not be imposed upon them for causing pollution.

When the noticees appeared before the bench, they challenged the notices being issued to them and sought inspection report from SDMC.

However, the counsel appearing for the SDMC submitted that the officers have physically inspected the sites and thereafter issued notices to the owner of the houses.

Taking note of submissions, the tribunal directed the SDMC lawyer to instruct the officer concerned to be present with complete records of the inspection and the violation found by them on the next date of hearing.

It also ordered municipal corporations to maintain a separate account of environmental compensation paid under the orders of the tribunal and restrained the civic bodies from spending it without its permission.

During the hearing, the NGT also reduced the fine amount on violators depending on the size of plots of the owners.

“We have heard the noticees who are present. The general plea being raised before the tribunal is that most of the noticees have owned properties less than 100 square yard and even less than 50 square yard and they have not committed any violation. We see that the violation committed is of a very minor nature. They have kept their construction materials within their premises.

“On the facts and circumstances of the case, we are of the considered view that the amount of environmental compensation could be reduced in all these cases. Therefore, we direct that the person/noticees whose houses are built or were being under repair, on a plot area of 50 square yard or less, would be liable to pay environmental compensation of only Rs 5000 each,” the bench said.

( Source – PTI )

NGT asks SDMC to control pollution in Lajpat Ngr

NGT asks SDMC to control pollution in Lajpat Ngr
NGT asks SDMC to control pollution in Lajpat Ngr

Coming to rescue of the residents of Lajpat Nagar here, the National Green Tribunal has directed South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to take immediate steps to control air pollution in an area in the locality.

A bench headed by P Jyothimani, which impleaded SDMC in the case, directed it to file a status report while posting the matter for next hearing on July 22.

The order came while hearing a plea by Kasturba Niketan Complex Social Welfare Association which has sought a direction to restrain the city government and Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) from using the land in front of the complex for parking purposes as it causes air pollution.

It had also sought a direction to “immediately construct a reinforced cement concrete (RCC) flooring in the entire dust-laden land situated in front of Kasturba Niketan Complex, Lajpat Nagar-II.

The bench said, “We direct the newly impleaded respondent — South Delhi Municipal Corporation — to take immediate steps for the purpose of cleaning the area and ensure that no dust comes out and the air pollution is prevented…”

The green panel had earlier issued notice to the Delhi government and DUSIB against the operation of a parking lot in front of the complex in Lajpat Nagar.

DUSIB is managing the parking, which can accommodate nearly 550 cars, in the area, after the tribunal asked it to arrange a temporary parking space to decongest roads in order to reduce vehicular emission.

SDMC is yet to identify land for building a multi-level parking facility in Lajpat Nagar area.

“The distance between the houses of Kasturba Niketan Complex and parking land is hardly 10 feet and as a result even a slight movement of vehicles causes dust storm.

“Due to the continuous movement of vehicles, there is layer of dust deposited on the outer walls of the houses, which also enters inside the houses causing air pollution,” the plea, filed through advocate D K Sharma, had said.

It has submitted that there are 273 houses in the complex in which more than 4,000 people live and their “lives are in danger as they are forced to inhale dust-laden air”.