NGT disposes Badshahpur drain petition, green activists unhappy
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.