Tuesday, December 23, 2008

DDA Asked to Stop felling trees for ‘ill-conceived’ project

Stop felling treesThe central empowered committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the DDA for cutting the greens in its attempt to construct a stadium and a parking lot at the forest areas of Siri Fort.

Calling the project to construct badminton and squash courts for the 2010 Commonwealth Games “ill-conceived”, the committee at a hearing said it will “not allow” any more trees to be cut. It asked DDA to suggest a better alternative to the project.

Though a final order has not been made, the CEC indicated that it will also “not allow operation” of a 25,000 square-metre parking lot constructed in the area. The panel also said it would not permit construction of a fresh approach road to the site.

Slamming DDA for choosing the particular site for its badminton/squash court, the committee’s member-secretary M K Jiwrajka said: “I would like to know whether it was a conscious decision to choose this particular spot for the stadium where so many trees had to be cut. It is strange that this has been done as part of the ‘green games’ that the Commonwealth Games calls itself.”

At least 891 trees have been cut for the project till date, the panel noted, and “we will not allow any more trees to be cut.” Jiwrajka also said, “We do not want to allow a parking lot in the area.”

Referring to the Asiad Village Complex, which local residents say is a source of disturbance at night, he said, “People in the area have already suffered. They should not have to put up with a parking lot which will surely be made commercial later.”

Jiwrajka said, “We cannot allow the greens of Delhi to be sacrificed — that too due to poor planning. We would like DDA to come up with a good alternative, or suggest how it can be done by causing least harm to the green area.

“If a better solution is not presented, we will have to report to the Supreme Court that this is an ill-conceived plan and should be re-examined.”

The CEC members have already visited the site twice and will review it once more before passing a final decision.

Meanwhile, the residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) agitating against the project said it should be scrapped. “The stadium should be scrapped as a national example,” artist Arpana Caur, a resident of the area, said. “Rs 40 crore has been spent on the stadium, and Rs 150 crore of expenditure still remain, so the plan can be scrapped at this stage.”