Thursday, July 25, 2024

Delhi HC directs display of environmental costs and tree data at construction sites

The Delhi High Court has issued a directive to the Central Government to ensure that construction sites display the environmental cost of projects, including information about the number of trees that are cut down and the location of compensatory plantation.

The decision aims to enhance transparency and environmental awareness in construction activities.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, presiding over the case, stressed on the importance of compliance with this directive.

He said that an officer, not lower than the rank of Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Urban Development, be assigned the responsibility to ensure that construction sites adhere to this requirement.

He further said that the displayed information should include the name of the civic agency responsible for the construction project.

Justice Prasad was hearing a plea filed by Advocate Aditya N. Prasad, who sought the implementation of an order issued by the Central Information Commission on August 5, 2011.

The Commission’s order had directed all civic agencies involved in construction work to display the environmental cost alongside the monetary expenses and project details at their construction sites.

The petitioner apprised the court that a similar order was also issued by a coordinate bench on May 25, 2015.

The order mandated the acquisition of a composite plan by the Public Works Department (PWD) and other road-owning agencies, which would include information about the number of existing trees and those scheduled for removal.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Government counsel assured the court that they were earnestly complying with the relevant orders.

The court was also told that Tree Officers from the concerned divisions would be responsible for promptly updating project data, as stipulated in the orders.

Taking the submission on record, Justice Prasad said that specifically concerning construction carried out by the Union of India, project details, including the environmental cost, number of trees to be felled, and the location of compensatory plantation, must be visibly indicated at construction sites.

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