Observing that implementation of phase IV of metro expansion may be a further threat to the ecology of Delhi-NCR, the Supreme Court has directed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to get forest clearance under the Forest Conservation Act for felling of trees.
DMRC has identified over 10,000 trees for felling for the expansion work of the Janakpuri-RK Ashram, Maujpur-Majlis Park, and Aerocity-Tughlaqabad corridors (phase IV) and has not got requisite permission for chopping them.
A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao asked the DMRC to file an application before the Chief Conservator of Forests of the Delhi government under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 seeking permission for diversion of land for the construction of Metro, Phase-IV.
"It is needless to observe that the Chief Conservator (Forest) and
Nodal Officer (FCI), GNCTD, shall consider the said application/s and forward the same to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) with his recommendations within a period of one month from the date of receipt of the said application/s.
"MoEF on receipt of the application/s, shall consider the same expeditiously and within a period of three months from the date of its receipt, communicate its decision to the applicant-DMRC as well as to the Chief Conservator (Forest) and Nodal Officer (FCA), GNCTD," the bench said. With regard to the plea seeking permission for construction activity in the South Central/Morphological Ridge in the 22.34 km Aerocity -Tughlakabad Metro Corridor, the bench directed the DMRC to file an application before the Ridge Management Board to seek necessary permission for diversion of the aforesaid Ridge areas.
"On such application being made, the RMB shall make its recommendations on the same and forward a copy of the said recommendations to the Chief Conservator (Forest) and Nodal Officer (FCI), GNCTD, as well as to the MoEF for its consideration under section 2 of the FC Act, 1980 within a period of one month from the date of receipt of the said application.
"MoEF&CC, GoI, shall on receipt of the said application along with the recommendations of RMB and the Chief Conservator (Forest) and Nodal Officer (FCI), GNCTD, if any, shall consider the said application within a period of three months from the date of its receipt," the bench said in its order uploaded today.
The apex court said since the citizens of Delhi have had and would continue to have the facility of the metro rail, the Delhi government as well as DMRC are directed to conceive a plan of action to plant trees in the NCT of Delhi.