New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Friday directed a committee to examine the possibility of saving hundreds of trees coming in the way of an elevated road project on Vikas Puri, Mukarba Chowk on Outer Ring Road in West Delhi by translocating them.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also asked the committee, constituted to inspect the road project, to also look if it is possible to shift them to the village sites at Manikpura and Jatikara if they cannot be translocated to the green belt on the road sides.
On July 23, the bench had set up the committee after it was told that over 1400 trees would be felled as part of the project and said if the transplantation of the trees is possible then the same should be carried out expeditiously.
The committee comprises Conservator of Forests, Delhi and an environmentalist chosen by the Conservator. The tribunal said the panel will visit the project site and inspect it from one end to another on both sides and report to it.
"Whether it is possible to save any trees keeping in view the alignment and construction of the Project as projected presently.
"Whether it is possible to translocate trees, which are coming in the way of the Project, in the proposed green belt of four meter width which admittedly is being provided i.E. four meter width on both sides of the road," it added and posted the matter for August 6 for further directions.
The bench also said that the committee should clearly mention if four meter width of space is available on either side of the road for the green belt and exists as of now.
The committee has also been asked to see whether saplings can be planted on this proposed green belt in addition to the existing trees.
The Tribunal also said that DDA`s UTTIPEC (Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre shall now have an environmentalist and a representative from the Forest Department on the Committee panel.
All transportation projects and transport engineering solutions in Delhi by any agency having road engineering and infrastructure implication require clearance by UTTIPEC.
The bench, in its order, directed the Director General of CPWD to nominate an engineer and architect to assist the committee.
"We hereby also direct that in future UTTIPEC shall always have an environmentalist and a representative from the Forest Department on the Committee panel.
"The Chairman of DDA and all other competent Authorities should be informed of this order by the Registry and by the counsel appearing for the parties," it said.
Earlier, the bench had noted that the greenery in Delhi is the "most important saviour of environment from pollution" especially since the national capital is one of the most polluted cities in the world and observed that development at the cost of completely and irretrievably destroying the environment would not be permissible.
The bench had said compensatory plantation shall be 10 times the number of trees sought to be felled/uprooted or removed in any manner whatsoever and also asked the committee to "earmark space" on the sides of the elevated road under construction for transplantation or for planting saplings.