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Was assessment done before proposing amendments, asks SC

Apex Court directs Delhi government, DDA and civic agencies to apprise it on issue

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Delhi government, DDA and civic agencies here to apprise it on whether an environment impact assessment was conducted before proposing to amend the city's Master Plan-2021, a move that would come as a big relief to traders facing the threat of sealing.
The Master Plan-2021 is a blueprint for urban planning and expansion in the metropolis to ensure overall development and the proposed amendments were for bringing a uniform floor area ratio (FAR) for shop-cum-residential plots and complexes at par with residential plots.
The FAR is the ratio of a building's total floor area (gross floor area) to the size of the piece of land on which it is built.
A bench of justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta noted the submissions of senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the sealing matter, and asked the city government, Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and civic agencies to file an affidavit in this regard within a week.
It also sought details available with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee or Centre Pollution Control Board with regard to pollution here from 2006 onwards till date and the steps taken to reduce the pollution level.
During the hearing, the amicus curiae told the court that the DDA has proposed to amend the Master Plan and steps have already been initiated in this regard.
He referred to the proposed amendments and said the authorities should be asked whether they have conducted any environment impact assessment before making the proposals.
The bench, while noting the submissions of the amicus, asked the DDA, Delhi government and municipal corporations to explain "whether any study has been conducted and whether any facts and figures are available with regard to congestion in the city of Delhi".
"Whether any steps have been taken to effectively manage traffic in consultation with the Delhi Police in view of the proposed changes," it noted, adding, "Whether fire safety measures have been considered and access to fire engines etc".
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