NGT dis­poses Bad­shah­pur drain pe­ti­tion, green ac­tivists un­happy

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO - Prayag Arora-de­sai­[email protected]

GU­RU­GRAM: In what en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists termed a ma­jor set­back to the city’s ecol­ogy, the Na­tional Green Tri­bunal (NGT) on Fe­bru­ary 1 dis­posed of a pe­ti­tion for the restora­tion of the Bad­shah­pur nul­lah — Gu­ru­gram’s pri­mary storm wa­ter drainage net­work.

The pe­ti­tion was filed in March 2017 by two city-based en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, Vaishali Rana Chan­dra and Sharmila Kaushik. “The idea was to bring the whole 29 km of the Bad­shah­pur drain back to its nat­u­ral state,” Chan­dra said.

She ex­plained that en­croach­ments by real es­tate com­pa­nies and civic au­thor­i­ties (who have been con­cretis­ing the drain) had re­duced the drain’s abil­ity to chan­nel run-off and recharge the un­der­ly­ing wa­ter ta­ble. Back­flow from the drain has been iden­ti­fied as a key rea­son for ur­ban flood­ing in Gu­ru­gram.

The plain­tiff said none of their con­cerns men­tioned in the plea have been ad­dressed by the court.

They said the pe­ti­tion raised both the is­sue of en­croach­ments and con­creti­sa­tion but only the for­mer was heard by the court. In Novem­ber last year, the court passed an or­der seek­ing de­mo­li­tion of en­croach­ments along the drain in Gwal Pa­hari, which in­cluded a 28-storey res­i­den­tial tower. A de­mo­li­tion drive was con­ducted in Jan­uary, more than two months af­ter the NGT’S dead­line for the same.

“Now, the dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion has claimed to re­move some en­croach­ments on the NGT’S in­struc­tion, but they have not touched the tower. It is a con­tra­dic­tion of the NGT’S own direc­tive,” Chan­dra said, adding that the pe­ti­tion’s dis­posal was abrupt and un­ex­pected.

Chan­dra and Kaushik are ex­pected to file a re­view pe­ti­tion to chal­lenge the NGT’S de­ci­sion this week.

The NGT’S ra­tio­nale be­hind the de­ci­sion, how­ever, is that the plain­tiff’s griev­ances have been ad­dressed (by way of the de­mo­li­tion drive con­ducted in Jan­uary). “The NGT has made its de­ci­sion. If the com­plainants are un­happy with it, they can al­ways take le­gal re­course,” said an of­fi­cial in the dis­trict ad­min­is­tra­tion.

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