Sunday, February 15, 2009

Siri Fort Games site: SC ropes in Correa

Siri Fort Games siteThe fate of the basketball and squash courts for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, built by cutting down a large number of trees in the Siri Fort forest area, hangs in balance with the Supreme Court on Friday seeking expert view on its feasibility and environmental damage control methodology.

Renowned architect Charles Correa, who had put in his papers last February as chairperson of the Delhi Urban Arts Commission refusing to be a rubber stamp for the government on clearance to various Commonwealth Games related projects, was appointed by the Superme Court to inspect the controversial sports facility for CWG in the Siri Fort forest area.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat and S H Kapadia entrusted Correa with the task of inspecting the basketball and squash court facilities and suggest alternatives or allowing the sports facility to remain there with minimum damage to environment.

The newly-built complex was red flagged by the apex court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which had termed the site unsuitable and castigated the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) for cutting down as many as 891 trees without taking prior clearance from the authorities and the SC.

CEC had suggested demolition of the complex, but keeping in view the constraint of time given the fact that the prestigious games are just 20 months away, it had recommended imposition of Rs 5 crore fine on DDA for utilization in afforestation activities.

On Friday, the Bench accepted amicus curiae Harish Salve's suggestion for entrusting the inspection task to 79-year-old Correa while asking him to give his report within three weeks. Correa, who studied architecture at the University of Michigan and at MIT, is known for his splendid work in designing the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial at Sabarmati Ashram, Jawahar Kala Kendra in Jaipur, and the Madhya Pradesh State
Assembly building.