Trees on 65 percent area of Noida memorial: Uttar Pradesh

August 6th, 2010 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) The Uttar Pradesh government Friday told the Supreme Court that it would plant trees on 65 percent of the land of the Noida Park memorial project dedicated to Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Dalit icons.
The state government made the offer after the apex court, in the course of the last hearing July 30, asked the state government to “try and increase” the area under green cover and plantation to 60 percent.

Initially, the state government told the apex court’s forest bench comprising Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan that it would plant 6,909 trees on 61 percent of the park area. However, it agreed to increase it to 65 percent after a suggestion from the bench.

Appearing for the state government, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal told that the court that Noida park area also coincided with the cycling track for the coming Commonwealth Games (CWG) and it would be national shame if it was not put in place before that.

The state government’s offer found approval of the amicus curiae Harish Salve, who said: “What has happened has happened. We have to put the trees back. Gone are gone. We have to replant them”.

However, Salve said that since the mortality rate among the new saplings was much higher therefore, the state government should plant 30,000 trees. He said that if only 6,000 trees were planted, then, in actuality, the park would have a few hundred trees only.

Salve said that most of such projects including Lafarge were granted validation after they came up, and suggested that the central government should declare certain areas as eco-sensitive, so that it would eliminate the requirement of notification to prevent any project coming up in such areas.

Declaration of eco-sensitive zones would mandate the environment impact clearance from the central government, before any project involving the cutting of trees was taken up.

Arguing for the petitioner, senior counsel Jayant Bhushan opposed the state government’s offer, saying that even the 35 percent area should be planted with trees. He said that even if saplings were planted today, it would take another 30 years to redeem what had been lost on account of state government’s action of cutting trees.

As Bhushan argued at length, Chief Justice Kapadia told him: “Our difficulty is we are struck on this point (the park area not being forest land). If you had satisfied us that it was a forest land then we would have treated it differently.”

The court also asked Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal to respond to the suggestions made by Salve, and said it would decide the issue only after Bhushan concludes his arguments next Friday.

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