The North Delhi Municipal Corporation's (NDMC) inaction regarding relocation of a tree near the Sis Ganj Sahib gurdwara in the walled city as part of the Chandni Chowk redevelopment plan has drawn the ire of the Delhi High Court which said the project has been sent into a "tailspin" because of the civic body's attitude.
A bench of justices S Muralidhar and I S Mehta noted that after it had directed removal or relocation of the 'peepal' tree, "at the whim" of an additional commissioner of the corporation, the civic body changed its stance and said that the tree, which was in the middle of a road, was not obstructing free flow of traffic.
"It appears instead of proceeding with removal or relocation of the tree, an Additional Commissioner of the zone said the tree was not an obstruction and sent everything into a tailspin as another committee was set up again to look into the issue.
"Entire exercise us unfortunate as a lot of time was wasted as NDMC, at the whim of an Additional Commissioner, has changed its stance. This attitude is not appreciated. You (corporation) got approval on March 7 and then you changed your mind. This is how everything gets delayed in this country," the bench said.
Another reason for the court's displeasure was that the change in stand occurred after the civic body obtained an approval from the Forest department to remove it relocate the tree.
The forest department, while granting approval, had directed the corporation to deposit Rs 57,000 for compensatory afforestation.
Pulling up the corporation, the court said "for some Rs 57,000 you are delaying the whole thing" and directed the corporation to deposit the amount within two weeks.
In the matter the court has passed a slew of directions to decongest the area by ordering registration of cycle rickshaws plying there, construction of a parking lot at Gandhi Maidan for private vehicles coming there, a bus depot at Dangal Maidan near Old Delhi Railway Station and creation of NMV lanes.
The court has asked the authorities to come with the redevelopment plan on the next date, May 4, so that it is easier to understand the issue and to enable passing of appropriate orders.
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