The Delhi High Court asked the Centre and civic body CPWD on Monday to respond to a plea seeking that no environment clearance (EC) be granted to cut of trees for the expansion and renovation of the Parliament building here, which is part of the Central Vista Redevelopment project. Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to the Ministry of Housing and the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) seeking their stand on the application moved by a Delhi resident opposing cutting of trees for the expansion work.
The judge said the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the ministry which is scheduled to hear CPWD's application for EC on Tuesday can take a decision, but it will have to be immediately placed before the court.
The application was moved by the petitioner -- Lt Col (retd) Anuj Srivastava -- in his main petition opposing the Central Vista project on the ground that it involves a change in land use of the green area adjoining Rajpath and Vijay Chowk for building a new Parliament and government offices.
Srivastava, in his petition filed through advocate Ankit Yadav, has contended that the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) does not have the power to bring about the proposed change in land use and master plan and only the central government can do so.
During the hearing of the application, Justice Shakdher said that even if EC was granted for cutting trees, CPWD cannot go ahead and do it as the overall issue of change in land use was yet to be decided by the court.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Maninder Acharya, appearing for CPWD, told the court that trees cut for the project would be transplanted at a suitable location and if any of them do not survive, then trees of 7-8 years of age would be planted as replacement.
Gujarat-based architecture firm HCP Designs has won the consultancy bid for the Centre's ambitious project to redevelop the Central Vista -- the 3-km stretch from Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate in Lutyens' Delhi.The revamp, which was announced in September last year, envisages a new triangular Parliament building, with seating capacity for 900 to 1,200 MPs, that is targeted to be constructed by August, 2022 when the country will be celebrating its 75th Independence Day. The common Central Secretariat is likely to be built by 2024.