Mayawati’s Noida Park hits green roadblock in court

July 30th, 2010 - 9:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) The government Friday told the Supreme Court that it could not grant environmental clearance to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s Noida Park project unless the state government complies with the environmental conditions laid down even as the apex court said it could stop the construction if it was satisfied the park was on forest land.
The central government asked the court to continue with the stay order on the Noida Park project until the state government takes all the required steps laid down by the Bombay Natural History Society (BHNS) and the Expert Appraisal Committee, including designation of Eco Sensitive Zones within the state.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests told the forest bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and K.S. Radhakrishnan that it had been telling the state government since May 27, 2005 to take steps to declare ESZs within the state but it had failed to do so.

The MoEF said the Uttar Pradesh government was trying to take advantage of its own acts of omissions.

The affidavit filed by Assistant Inspector General of Forests Umakant said: “Had the state government notified ESZs within the state, there would have been a legal bar by virtue of the fact the park would have encroached on the boundaries of the areas so designated.”

The environmental clearance would continue to be on the hold until and unless the state government takes steps to implement the recommendation of BNHS that were essential to maintain the sanctity and integrity of the adjoining bird sanctuary which is home to many rare and critically endangered species.

The MoEF told the court that after complying with all the conditions, the state government would submit detailed (compliance) report for examination by the ministry.

In the course of the hearing Friday, the Supreme Court said that it could order stoppage of construction at the Noida Park provided it was satisfied that it was being set up on forest land.

“In the fact of this case we need to be satisfied that it was a forest land for us to stop construction at Noida Park,” the court said.

Senior counsel Harish Salve told the court that the trees planted everywhere are part of efforts to improve environment and are in fact lungs of any city. He said before cutting such trees environment clearance was required.

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