The Central government-run construction company NBCC will chop 16,500 trees in different areas of South Delhi.
NEW DELHI: Amid the furore on cutting of 14,000 trees in the national capital, Delhi environment minister Imran Hussain on Tuesday wrote to Union environment, forest and climate change minister Harsh Vardhan and housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri demanding various clearances for a number of Central government employees’ colonies, for which thousands of trees were to be cut in the national capital.
The documents he sought were an environment clearance dated November 27, 2017, and all the other environment clearances granted by the Union environment, forest and climate change ministry for these General Pool Res-idential Accommodation (GPRA) colonies along with the environment impact assessment repo-rts for these projects.
“In order to fully understand/appreciate the concerns of all the stakeholders and to ensure equity and justice to all, it is requested that following documents may kindly be made available to the environment and forest department, Govern-ment of NCT of Delhi for further examination,” he wrote in the letter to Harsh Vardhan.
He also demanded a copy of the assessment by the Central Groundwater Authority with regard to the impact on groundwater and complete project report and the MoU between the government and the NBCC or any other party with respect to these projects.
In the letter to Mr Puri, he also said that he was “made to understand that these projects are being taken up on behalf of ministry of housing and urban affairs”.
The Central government-run construction company NBCC will chop 16,500 trees in different areas of South Delhi, including Sarojini Nagar and Nauroji Nagar, to construct flats for Central government employees.
Earlier in the day, Mr Hussain also directed the forest department to lodge an FIR against cutting of trees despite a stay from the Delhi high court after receiving a complaint from an environmentalist.
Acting on a complaint from green activist Vimlendu Jha regarding the tree cutting in Netaji Nagar area of south Delhi, Hussain, in a letter to the Forest Department, termed it a violation of the court’s order and contempt of the court. He directed the officers to “take necessary action including registration of FIR against the defaulting project proponent/user agency/ mischievous person involved today (on Tuesday) positively”, he added. The Minister also sought an Action Taken Report from the officers.
The issue of cutting of trees for the redevelopment of these colonies triggered a blame game between the Central and the Delhi government since last week with Harsh Vardhan claiming that the Delhi government was responsible for granting the permission for tree cutting in the non-forest areas while the Delhi government claimed that that the clearance for the same was issued by the Union Environment and Forest Ministry in November last year.