No more trees in Delhi to be cut till July 4, says High Court

Tree felling delhi

New Delhi, June 25: No trees will be cut in Delhi for now, the High Court said on Monday, putting on hold a controversial mega-project that requires the cutting of 16,500 trees in the city to make way for government officers’ houses and a commercial complex.

“Has the tree-cutting been approved by the green tribunal,” the court questioned as it put off the project till July 4, the next hearing.

A bench of Justice Vinod Goel and Justice Rekha Palli directed the National Buildings Construction Corp (NBCC) not to cut the trees till the next date of hearing on July 4.

The court also permitted the petitioner to challenge the orders passed by the authorities giving permission to cut the trees for these residential projects.

During the hearing, the court asked NBCC: “You know the effect it would have? I understand if it was widening of a road or something inevitable. Can Delhi afford it today? Keep your hands off till July 4?”

The petitioner, an orthopaedic surgeon, has sought the setting aside of the terms of reference and the environment clearances granted to the project by the Environment Ministry, saying it would lead to felling of over 16,500 trees.

The six south Delhi colonies where the trees would be felled are Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Mohammadpur and Kasturba Nagar, the petition by Kaushal Kant Mishra said.

All these areas are home to government employees where the central government is pulling down houses built in the 1950 and replacing them with high-rise buildings.

Besides the NBCC, the project is also being executed by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).

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