Millennium Post

Consider impact on environment before changing master plan: HC to Delhi authorities

New Delhi: Before making any change to the city's Master Plan, policymakers should consider its possible impact on the environment as well as the burden it would impose on civic amenities, the Delhi High Court has said.
Referring to the environmental impact of rising population and corresponding rise in the number of buildings in Delhi, a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said that many species of birds have already vanished from the city and others are fast disappearing.
"You have lost sparrows, crows are few in number and mynas are fast disappearing," the court observed and added that even the flora has been affected as fewer plants are seen flowering and the flowers too are smaller in size.
It said, "When changing the master plan to permit commercial establishments to run from residential areas, you should look at the burden it would put on water, sewage and electricity, the air pollution caused due to the increase in vehicular numbers as well as the 'light pollution' caused by neon signs."
The bench said that prolonged exposure to neon lights of commercial establishments would be harmful, even if curtains are drawn at night, and added that it could also lead to psychological problems.
"By the time the policy makers consider these aspects and take a decision, half of Delhi would be mad due to psychological problems," the court remarked.
The observations by the bench came while hearing PILs seeking directions to the authorities to take steps to deal with the menace posed by the rising numbers of monkeys and dogs in the national Capital.
The bench had earlier also commented on the government's proposed amendment of the master plan after traders protested against the sealing drive, observing that a few people have "held the city to ransom".
It had observed that by sitting on a dharna "you can get the master plan changed".
"Not because it is required nor after checking if the city can handle it. It is done because a few hundred people sit on a dharna.
The master plan is being amended because the traders have held the city to ransom by pulling down their shutters," it said and asked the authorities whether an environment impact assessment was conducted before proposing to amend the Master Plan-2021.
The proposed amendments in Master Plan-2021 were for bringing a uniform floor area ratio for shop-cum-residential plots and complexes on par with residential plots.
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