Sunday, February 8, 2009

Court asks Correa if 2010 Games project can be shifted

Court asks Correa if 2010 Games project can be shiftedThe Supreme Court Friday requested renowned architect and town planner Charles Correa to examine if a badminton and squash court being built in south Delhi for the 2010 Commonwealth games could be relocated to save trees.A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan requested the former Delhi Urban Arts Commission chairman to examine the feasibility of relocating the badminton and squash court while examining the objections to the project, raised by the court-appointed Centrally Empowered Committee.

The court’s panel objected to the Rs.1.50 billion project largely because it would involve large-scale felling of trees and denuding the area around the Siri Fort Indoor stadium complex of its green lungs.

The panel has also objected to the project as it accompanied construction of a 25,000 square-metre underground parking lot that, the police said, cannot be allowed to be used during the games owing to the security concerns.

Opposing the police plea, senior counsel Harish Salve, assisting the court and representing the panel, said the parking lot looks set to be eventually used for commercial purposes after the games.

Salve also questioned the felling of hundreds of trees in the area to build the badminton court, and said the girth of many trees ranges from 3 feet to ten feet.

Lamenting the hacking of the trees, Salve said barely a few years ago the forest was so dense in the area that even during the bright summer noon, sunrays would not reach the earth.

The apex court bench, which also included Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice J.M. Panchal, sought Correa’s help in examining the feasibility of relocating the badminton and squash courts ignoring the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee’s contentions.

“It is not possible to shift and develop an alternate venue at some other place at this stage when the Games are only 20 months away,” said the games organising committee in its affidavit.

It added that “a considerable amount of work has already been completed and as per the laid-down target, the work is required to to be completed by Dec 31, 2009.”

“The delay resulting from shifting(of the badminton and squash court) may even result in cancellation of the Games,” said the affidavit.