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Delhi High Court seeks response from DDA, Delhi LG, Forest Ministry over amendment in Masterplan 2021 regarding land use near AIIMS

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The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, and the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MEFCC), in connection with a PIL seeking to quash the proposed amendment in the Masterplan 2021 for change in land use of the park near the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at West Ansari Nagar Campus-Zone, New Delhi.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad passed the order on a petition filed by Society for the Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Tradition, and Promotion of National Awareness.

The plea contended that the park in question was providing respite to the patients’ relatives, residents living nearby, commuters and visitors, who needed space to breathe under the shade of the trees. The canopy of trees not only captured dust particles, but was also acting as a noise pollution filter, a natural air-conditioner and effective smog tower, added the petition.

It said the park also maintained ecological balance by preserving biodiversity and serving as a water catchment instrument.

The Counsel representing the petitioner said it was surprising that the respondents, who were entrusted with the overall development of Delhi, conceptualised such a faulty plan for change of land use, converting the green area (District Park) into a concrete hub.

Several redevelopment colonies were being built around AIIMS, including Netaji Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Narouji Nagar, Mohammadpur and Thayagraj Nagar.

The traffic from all these colonies would end up on the Ring Road-Mahatma Gandhi Road, which is always congested and clogged at any time of the day throughout the year, noted the petition.

It said that according to recent newspaper reports, 77,000 trees were allowed to be cut down in the last three years, which comes down to three trees being cut every hour in the national capital, and felling of another 5995 full trees and an unspecified number of small trees, after the District Park is destroyed for the redevelopment of AIIMS.

Despite being aware of the scarcity of land for green areas, the city continues to allow the development of commercial properties and the changing land use of Recreational City Parks and District Parks that were developed in accordance with previous Master Plans, added the petition.

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