New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh government, which has defended its construction of statues and memorials for Dalit leaders at Noida Park near here, on Friday told the Supreme Court that the project did not require environmental clearance.
The state government said the project is not covered by the notification which required environmental clearance. "The area involved in the project was only 33.43 hectares, much below the bench mark of 1,50,000 sq meter requiring environment clearance from MoEF," senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for UP government, submitted before
a special forest bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia.
"The project is not in the forest area," the advocate had submitted earlier before the Bench. He had said that of the 6194 trees that have been cut, only 47 required the permission of the authorities for uprooting them as they were of native variety.
He said the permission for that was secured and remaining trees were cut as no permission was needed for them All work for the Rs 650-crore project on the 33.43 hectare land has been stopped since October 9, 2009, by an apex court order.
Earlier, senior advocate Harish Salve, who is assisting the court as amicus curiae in the matter, said clearance to the project has to be given keeping in mind the environmental concern.
He said since major part of the work was completed, it would have to be carefully examined whether demolition would be the correct option. He said it has also to be viewed whether planting of trees would serve the purpose of restoration of forest or not.
The apex court had during the earlier hearing maintained that automatic clearance to the project cannot be given merely because the Centre has stated that environment
clearance was not required for it.