Delhi Colonies
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The plush colonies of South Delhi are planned to have redevelopment and an expert panel appointed by the Government has recommended environmental clearance for three major redevelopment projects in the national capital. These redevelopment projects include Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Kasturba Nagar and the plan is lured due to the proposal to fell a large number of trees. However this came after the decision was revised to translocate the trees instead of cutting them.

The revised housing projects in Sarojini Nagar, Netaji Nagar and Kasturba Nagar were sanctioned from the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MOEFCC).

Also, as per the revised plans of redeveloping these colonies, the trees will be translocated/ transplanted instead of being cut, which the environmentalists feel will be a “failure”.

As a matter of fact, in Sarojini Nagar, 3,500 trees are planned to be translocated out of the total 11,913 trees and the remaining trees will be retained at the project site. Similarly in Netaji Nagar, 3,906 trees are proposed to be felled and 1,600 are planned to be retained on the same site. Following the same pattern, in Kasturba Nagar, 405 trees are planned for translocation and 798 will be retained. All these detailed were informed in the EAC meeting minutes.

The Expert Appraisal Committee found that there was a status quo since July 2018 on these redevelopment projects due to the petitions in the Delhi High Court and NGT against redevelopment of seven GPRA (General Pool Residential Accommodation) colonies over felling of trees, and this includes three colonies that are now cleared.

The EAC’s minutes meeting also said that during deliberations, the EAC noted that as per the environmental clearance granted vide dated June 12, 2018, initial activities were taken up but due to writ petitions /PIL filed in the Delhi High Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT) against felling of trees, the High Court had ordered to maintain status quo in redevelopment of all seven GPRA Colonies including Sarojini Nagar on July 2, 2018 and July 26, 2018.

Chandra Bhushan, deputy director, Centre for Science and Environment’s (CSE) said that redevelopment is needed in Delhi. Translocation is a good move but it has to be carried out cautiously as most of the times it is not successful.”

He further said that while granting clearance for such projects, number of trees to be cut should be reduced and planting of more number of trees must be ensured.

“They should reduce the number of trees being cut and keep in mind how will they ensure that the new construction has more number of trees,” Bhushan, deputy director of CSE, said.

On the entire issue, the Environment activists said that redevelopment was necessary but translocation was a risky approach.