Mayawati`s Noida park-cum-memorial project gets SC nod

In a morale booster to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati`s pet project, the Supreme Court on Friday upheld environmental compatibility of the Noida park scheme, also being developed into a memorial for Dalit icon B R Ambedkar and her political mentor late Kanshi Ram.

New Delhi: In a morale booster to Uttar
Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati`s pet project, the Supreme
Court on Friday upheld environmental compatibility of the Noida
park scheme, also being developed into a memorial for Dalit
icon B R Ambedkar and her political mentor late Kanshi Ram.

A Special Forest bench headed by Chief Justice S H
Kapadia upheld the legality and eco-friendliness of the
sprawling 34-acre park, coming up in close proximity of the
Okhla Bird Sanctuary, saying that "the project is not so
calamitous or ruinous for the bird sanctuary that it needs to
be altogether scrapped."
Reading the judgement for the three-judge bench,
Justice Aftab Alam said, "We have found that it is not on the
forest land."

Basing its ruling on recommendations of three expert
bodies, chosen by project proponents Noida Authority and the
state government, the bench, which also had justice K S
Radhakrishnan, however, rued that the Ministry of Environment
and Forest had not conducted the environment impact study for
the project as per its directions.

While giving its green signal for the project, all
masonry work for which had been stayed by the court on October
9 last year, the bench said, "We see no justification for
directing the demolition of the constructions made in it."

"We would rather allow the completion of the project,
subject, of course, to the conditions suggested by the three
expert bodies appointed by the project proponents."

The bench stipulated that no more than 25 percent of
the sprawling 33.43 acre park area should be utilized for
masonry work of any kind.

"No more than 25 percent of the park land should fall
under any hard (concrete) surface, whether covered or
uncovered, including pathways and boundary wall etc," said the
bench.

The bench stipulated that 50 percent of the park area,
closer and adjacent to Okhla Bird sanctuary must have a thick
cover of the trees, adding that remaining 25 percent of the
area could be used for green landscaping.

The bench said the EIA study for the project was not
conducted by MoEF or any agency chosen by it, as directed by
it on April 22.
The MoEF instead allowed the project proponents Noida
Authority to have the studies conducted by some expert bodies
and accordingly the Noida Authority got three studies
conducted by various renowned bodies.

But the bench said, "The court would have been more
comfortable if the environment impact studies were conducted
by the MoEF or by any organisation under it."

The first study was jointly conducted by Hyderabad-
based Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History and
All India Network Project on Agricultural Ornithology attached
to Aacharya N G Ranga Agricultural University of Hyderabad.

The two other studies were conducted respectively by
Wildlife Institute of India and a group of three individuals,
whose work was later vetted by the Indian Institute of
Technology, Delhi.

The bench noted that all the studies suggested a host
of remedial measures to ensure that OBC is not subjected to
any environment degradation.

Directing strict compliance of various remedial
measures, the court ordered formation of an expert panel
within a fortnight to supervise execution of the project.

The panel would include an ornithologist, besides
senior advocate Harish Salve, who assisted the court during
adjudication of Noida resident petitions opposing the
construction of the park adjacent to OBC.

The Noida Authority chief executive officer will
function as member secretary of the panel overseeing the
project execution, the court ruled.

PTI