The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has junked a plea challenging a road-widening project being carried out by DLF and Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) in Sector 55-56 of Gurgaon.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim rejected the plea filed by a former IFS officer noting that the widening project was on a sector road and not on a national highway.
“On examination of facts, we notice that the area comes within Sector 55 and Sector 56, and hence it is reasonable to believe that it's not a national highway,” the bench said.
The green panel took into account the submission made by the project proponent that they had chopped trees on the road after valid permission and even transplanted 10 times the number of trees; 11,000 trees had also been planted.
The bench agreed with the argument that the allegation of connivance between HUDA and DLF officers by the applicant was “nothing but revengeful action to tarnish their names”.
“We do not find reason to reject such contention," NGT said. "However, we do not want to go into this question, as that is not the issue for our consideration. Be that as it may, this observation was necessitated, as the applicant himself wanted this tribunal to record that there was connivance between DLF and officials of the forest department, who granted the permission for the felling of 1,055 trees.”
The judgment came on a plea filed by retired Indian Forest Service officer Rajinder Krishan Sharma, alleging that DLF and HUDA had undertaken a road-widening project in contravention to environmental laws, resulting in destruction of trees.
The plea claimed that the project undertaken to widen NH 8 from the present width of 60 m to 70 m was not necessary, and that the activity was illegal and contrary to the provisions of Environment Protection Act 1986, Indian Forest Act 1927, Forest Conservation Act 1980 and the Punjab Land Preservation Act of 1900.