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No traffic impact assessment done before granting approval to East Kidwai Nagar project: Delhi HC

Another issue in the redevelopment project that Justice Vibhu Bakhru noted was with regard to the norms followed by the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), which is carrying out the work, for deciding on parking space to be allocated to government and commercial offices in the area.

Representative Image
Representative Image

The Delhi High Court said the city's nodal traffic and transportation authority, UTTIPEC, did not ascertain what would be the impact of redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar here on the traffic in the surrounding area before granting its approval to the project.

Another issue in the redevelopment project that Justice Vibhu Bakhru noted was with regard to the norms followed by the National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC), which is carrying out the work, for deciding on parking space to be allocated to government and commercial offices in the area.

The court said the norms for government offices would not be applicable to commercial offices, banks and PSUs as was claimed by the NBCC, which is presently applying the parking standard of 1.8 equivalent car space per 100 square feet for government as well as commercial offices.

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It asked the NBCC to come with a solution to the parking issue on the next date of hearing on May 29.

The court also noted that the project did not appear to have complied with the conditions laid down by the National Monument Authority (NMA) while granting permission to carry out extensive development work in the regulated area of 100-300 metres from a protected monument -- the Tomb of Darya Khan, an influential official during the days of the Lodi dynasty.

The NMA had granted permission on the condition that the facade of the buildings in the regulated area would be in consonance with the art and architecture of the monument, the court noted.

It said it was uncertain whether the NBCC had incorporated the art and architecture of the monument in the 30 six-storey towers built by it in the regulated area and made the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) a party in the matter to assist the court.

During the hearing, IIT professor Geetam Tiwari, who has prepared a traffic assessment report of the area on the court's direction, said the roads surrounding East Kidwai Nagar were already catering to traffic that was more than 100 per cent of their capacity.

She said the solution was the Transit Oriented Development (TOD) policy notified in 2015, under which public transport linkages were to be made to reduce usage of private vehicles and decrease pollution.

However, in the case of the East Kidwai Nagar project, the TOD was not followed, she said, adding that the redevelopment of the area would only increase traffic congestion and the resultant pollution, instead of decreasing it.

The Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre (UTTIPEC) told the court that no traffic impact assessment was carried out nor considered before granting approval to the project as the consultant hired by it did not give a report on it as the same was not part of its terms of reference.

The UTTIPEC said it was considering carrying out a comprehensive traffic impact assessment to find out a solution to the vehicular congestion problem in the area.

It also said it was considering building more roads, including an elevated corridor, to address the traffic issue.

To this, the court said, "There seems to be a fundamental disconnect here. No traffic impact assessment was done. The TOD is not being followed. The TOD was to reduce vehicular usage and increase public transport use. Without making public transport linkages, what is the point of increasing roads?"

The court was hearing a petition filed by senior advocate Aman Lekhi and advocate Manali Singhal in 2014 to stop the commercialisation and redevelopment of East Kidwai Nagar and restore its residential nature.

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First Published on May 20, 2019 07:30 pm
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