Despite NGT orders, Ghaziabad trees rooted in concrete

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 15, 2013 15:10 hrs

Ghaziabad, Oct 15 (IANS) Environmental considerations do not seem to be part of the civic agency's development programmes in Ghaziabad, said an environment conservationist here bemoaning that despite a rap from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on concretisation, the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation seems unfazed.

The municipal corporation is concretising every inch of the green and open spaces along roadsides in Raj Nagar, Lohia Nagar and other residential areas, said Akash Vashishtha of Hindustan Environment Action Group.

The ministry of urban development had Sep 23 issued advisories and guidelines for the greening of urban areas and landscaping to all states and union territories, including Uttar Pradesh.

The ministry had asked chief secretaries and principal secretaries of the departments concerned of all states to avoid excessive tiling of pavements and instructed that it be done on pavements with heavy pedestrian traffic but the corporation is violating NGT guidelines, added Vashishtha.

The ministry also asked the planning divisions of all states to encourage growth of grasses and to leave space of at least 6x6 ft around each tree, besides avoiding digging of space around trees.

The Uttar Pradesh government, in an order, issued by the chief secretary, also asked all the divisions concerned to leave roadsides soiled and soft to allow ground water recharge and allow provision of only brick-on-edge or loose stone pavements where water could percolate.

According to Vashishtha, a city resident whose petition against indiscriminate concretisation is being heard by the NGT, the municipal corporation here is blindly going ahead with concretisation of soft, green open spaces along roads in residential colonies.

"Mindless concretisation is a permanent ecological hazard and the future generations will have to pay dearly for it. These politicians, councillors and officials of the municipal corporation and state government are not realising how fatal this act is. There is sheer corruption. The temperatures have increased drastically and its effects on life will be unforeseen," he said.

"I have been writing to them for past five years but they seem oblivious. The protectors have become destroyers," said Vashishtha, adding that "all rules, guidelines and laws seem meant to be flouted by them".

The petition is scheduled for hearing by the NGT Oct 25.

"The guidelines of NGT are being corrected where found violating," said municipal commissioner R.K. Singh.

More from Sify: