A notice has been sent to the UP Chief Secretary, MOEF&CC, Noida and Greater Noida Authorities, DM, District Ground Water Management Council and the RWAs about the major intervention by the NGT where it has completely halted the concretization of roadsides and road berms in Noida & Greater Noida.
The order was passed by the bench comprising of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and an Expert Member, Dr. Afroz Ahmad, on the petition of environment activist Vikrant Tongad and Consultant Dermatologist, Dr. Supriya Mahajan, who had mentioned in their petition that the concretizing by the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities on the entire roadsides and green/vegetated roadberms in the two cities, is flagrant violation of the Orders of the Tribunal, the Government Orders issued by the state government and the Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India.
In the petition it was mentioned that the concretization of ground obstructs groundwater recharge, causes urban heat islands, creates loss of biodiversity, starts problems like urban flooding/water logging, creates loss of carbon sequestration and prevention of mitigation efforts towards curbing air pollution.
The Advocate and counsel, Akash Vashishtha, who represented the Petitioners, told the court that concretized is an open defiance of the repeated Orders of the Tribunal and that with concretization every inch of soft, vegetated roadsides and roadberms in the two cities will be affected.
“It has been the consistent and settled position that roadsides and roadberms cannot be concretized,” he submitted.
Advocate Vashishtha during the argument said that off late the alarming rise in temperature is not because of seasonal and meteorological factors alone but also because the greenery is disappearing and the grounds are concretized.
Advocate Vashishtha said due to the absence of harvesting systems, these roadsides serve as the only medium of natural groundwater recharge and those are also usurped for concretization.”
He further said “They can easily vegetate these surfaces with grass or other pollution absorbing plants. Grass releases Oxygen. The budgets are also comparably much lesser than these ecologically disastrous, unsustainable indiscriminate concretization works. There is adequate scientific material, including a US Department of Energy study that recommends shunning of this practice”.
The NGT has asked the authorities to reply to each point raised in the petition with respect to the environmental issue.