11,000 trees face the axe for DMRC Phase 4, SC panel to hold meeting of stakeholders today

After a petition before the high court sought a change in the alignment of Metro Phase 4, to save over 11,000 trees that may otherwise be felled, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC), set up by the Supreme Court, has called a virtual meeting of all stakeholders on Wednesday to hear the petitioners’ grievances.

In a petition before the Delhi high court, it was submitted that for the construction of three of DMRC corridors —Janakpuri-RK Ashram, Maujpur-Majlis Park and Aerocity-Tughlakabad—the Metro had sought permission to cut 11,454 trees.

On February 11, the high court asked the CEC to “consider as representation” the plea, which contended that felling over 11,000 trees for the Metro construction would have an adverse effect on the ambient air quality of the national capital, where pollution is already at critical levels. The petitioners also sought a change in alignment of Metro Phase 4, from above ground to underground.

In a notice issued on February 15, CEC member secretary had called the Delhi chief secretary, principal chief conservator forests (PCCF), public works department (PWD) engineer-in-chief, Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) member secretary, as well as representatives of the Union ministry of environment forests and climate change (MoEFCC) and ministry of housing and urban affairs, to hear the grievance of petitioners.

The CEC on Wednesday will also look into DMRC’s request for permission to divert forest land under the Forest Conservation Act (1980), for the construction of the upcoming corridors under Phase 4.

“The copies of all relevant documents may be emailed to CEC in advance with a copy to all parties concerned. The petitioner and respondents may join the meeting with the identity of participant/user agency name,” the notice for virtual meeting read.

Last year, the DMRC had run into trouble with the Delhi forest department for carrying out digging work on the stretch between Vikaspuri and Peeragarhi Chowk, which was marked as a deemed forest land without due permissions. The forest department had issued a restraining order to the DMRC asking it to stop all construction on the stretch till the required permissions were granted.

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