New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) and the Municipal Corporations to rehabilitate slum clusters located near railway tracks in the capital within six months.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar expressed concern over the "inaction" on the part of all the concerned authorities and the delay in re-settling slum clusters.
The Tribunal noted that there was nearly 70 km of railway tracks existing in NCT, Delhi out of which 22 km violated the safety zone and seven km out of this offends the safety zone "badly", seeking "immediate and serious attention from the point of environment, human life and degradation of public health".
Safety zone is the area beyond 30 metre from the railway track.
"We direct that all the senior-most officers who had appeared before the Tribunal for holding a consultative meeting within two weeks to prioritise the sections of the seven km stretch at the first stage from where the process of rehabilitation of these jhuggies shall be initiated.
"It shall be a time bound programme and finally not later than 6 month from the date of passing of this order. The Committee would finalise a time-bound programme for purposes of implementation of the policy of rehabilitation and wherever rehabilitation takes place, Railways shall put a boundary wall immediately to ensure that there is no re-encroachment on these areas," the bench said while hearing a plea which had alleged that the railway authorities have failed to perform their statutory duties.
The Tribunal noted that Railways had given a sum of Rs 11.25 crore in 2003-2004 to DUSIB under which 4,410 jhuggies located near the railway track in Sanjay Camp and Wazirpur area were required to be demolished and persons so affected were to be re-settled with this money.
However, only Rs 52 lakh was spent in resettling 257 jhuggies under this scheme and significant money is still lying with the board unutilised, it noted.
During the proceedings, various photographs were placed before the Tribunal by the railways showing that the jhuggis and even the residential buildings were not even two meters away from the outermost railway tracks.
The residents of these places, throw plastic and other waste and it becomes difficult for the authorities to collect and deal with the municipal solid waste, it noted.