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Felling of trees in Dwarka: NGT notice to Delhi, Centre

NEW DELHI: Alleged felling of over 1,000 trees for a proposed International Exhibition-Cum-Convention Center (IECC) in Dwarka has come under the scanner of the National Green Tribunal which sought a response from the Centre and Delhi government.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued a notice to the Ministry of the Environment and Forests, AAP government, Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation and Delhi Pollution Control Committee on a plea alleging felling of trees for the Rs 26,000-crore construction project.
The bench, also comprising Justice Jawad Rahim, asked the parties to file their reply within 10 days and listed the matter for hearing on December 11.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by city resident Shobhit Chauhan seeking "complete review" of the project to protect trees from being chopped. During the hearing, the lawyer, appearing for the applicant, said at the time when pollution levels in the city have touched severe levels it was necessary that trees should be preserved as they act as natural air filters.
He said that the compensatory plantation should be undertaken around Dwarka to maintain the ecological balance and it should take place, not at some far-off places like ITO and Yamuna Bank Metro Station.
With an overall built-up space of 1.02 million sq. meters, the IECC will house exhibition halls, convention centers, banquet halls, an arena, a financial center, hotels, food and beverage outlets, commercial and retail services and common internal infrastructure facilities.
The IECC, which is coming up in sector 25 in Dwarka, will be able to host 5,000 to 10,000 delegates. It will take an around 15 minutes to reach the center from the international airport here.
The Delhi government sources asserted that the environment department and Delhi Pollution Control Committee will together file their response to the NGT. The response will be made after a meeting with the local authorities. The minister is likely to hold a meeting with the top officials and members of DPCC along with the local officials in the next week.
The sources also asserted that the government has always asked the authorities that no tree should be cut without notice, hence the reason behind cutting these trees should be investigated.
The officials said that the minister has sought a detailed report on this matter. The government and the other agencies will file their separate responses on the matter. The officials further explained that the whole project is not in the hand of the Delhi government but the department will take care of all the necessary steps.

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