GURGAON: The National Green Tribunal informed by Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) that the road-widening project of DLF and HUDA in Sectors 55-56 of Gurgaon, which is embroiled in controversy over cutting of trees, requires environmental clearance (EC).
A vacation bench of the NGT headed by Justice P Jyothimani directed the HSPCB to file an affidavit stating that the project, near National Highway 8, requires environmental clearance, after real estatemajor DLF claimed the pollution control board’s stand was “manifestly wrong in law”.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday held a fresh hearing on the petition filed by the residents of the National Media Centre, regarding the uprooting of several trees on their premises by HUDA and DLF to widen a sector road.
In the hearing, the Haryana Pollution Control Board informed the NGT that DLF-HUDA’s Sector Road Expansion needs Environment Clearance, which has not been sought so far. The counsel appearing for the HSPCB, the State of Haryana, and District Commissioner, Gurgaon, stated on record in the court that the entire project requires environment clearance which has not been taken yet. He also said that no Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report from any competent authority was sought for or got done by either HUDA or DLF. The counsel admitted that there is a need for conducting the environment impact assessment.
The court directed the HSPCB to file an affidavit on the same and also directed it to ensure and monitor that the NGT direction of not cutting down a single tree in the area, should be adhered to in letter and in spirit.
The NGT also suo motu brought in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) as a party and issued notices to it to specify whether this sector road fell under Category A or Category B in the Schedule to the EIA notification of 2006. A copy of the order is with TOI.
The vacation bench of Justice Jyothimani said that the tribunal was unable to arrive at any conclusion at this stage as to whether the activity questioned in the present matter pertains to widening of the National Highway or the sectoral road. The bench accordingly directed that National Highway Authority of India be impleaded as respondent. It directed all the Respondents including NHAI to file their reply before the next date of hearing on July 10. “The case the NGT has managed to put some restraint on the DLF-HUDA combine which has so far brazenly continued with indiscriminate felling of trees based on a permission granted by the Divisional Forest Officer Gurgaon to cut down 1,057 trees between Shankar Chowk and Sector 55 and 56 of Gurgaon. It should be noted that DFO’s permission has itself been questioned by the Green Tribunal,” said a petitioner.
“The NGT’s direction of not cutting down trees will provide some relief to the numerous RWAs and other entities living along this ill conceived and badly planned sector road, being expanded in the guise of road widening but actually aimed at connecting various commercial buildings owned by the private builder,” he said.