A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao said that since the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has reviewed the proposals to re-develop the six colonies, the ministry or the NBCC, which would carry out part of the work, can seek the necessary approvals and the authorities shall consider it in accordance with law.
The court, in its interim order, said the ministry or the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) shall also be at liberty to approach the Tree Officer of the Delhi government, if required as per the revised proposal, for tree felling permissions.
“Further action or steps shall be taken by respondent No.1 (ministry) or NBCC as per the decision of the statutory authorities,” the bench said. The court had reserved its order after hearing arguments on behalf of all stakeholders, including the ministry, residents of the area and NBCC, regarding the redevelopment work in the six colonies — Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Mohammadpur and Srinivaspuri.
The ministry and NBCC had told the bench that they have made several changes to the project to ensure the number of trees to be felled and water consumption in the area are reduced.
Apart from that, road infrastructure would be “augmented” to accommodate the increase in vehicular traffic, they had added.
The ministry in its affidavit, filed through central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj, had said it has reduced the proposed number of dwelling units in the project area by 739 to reduce the felling of trees.
Under the re-worked plan, there will be 24,928 dwelling units in the area, it had said, adding, that changes have been made in the layout plan, architectural designs and parking spaces to bring down the number of trees to be felled.
The ministry and NBCC had also said that redevelopment of the area would lead to conservation of water as this resource was being wasted in huge quantities presently due to poor and inefficient plumbing systems there.
The court was hearing PILs challenging the terms of reference (ToR) and the environmental clearances granted to the housing projects at seven colonies — Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Thyagaraja Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Mohammadpur and Srinivaspuri — claiming that it would result in the felling of around 16,500 trees.
It also said that the interim order prohibiting construction work at Nauroji Nagar shall continue till the next date of hearing on November 28.
Over 2,000 trees have already been felled in Nauroji Nagar where the NBCC plans to build a commercial hub which will include a World Trade Centre.
The bench had on August 30 directed that status quo be maintained regarding the project till the Centre reconsiders the environment clearances given to the work in the six colonies, after the court was told that the clearance was granted on the basis of an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report that had “copy-pasted” its contents from another project report in Tamil Nadu.