The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has given its go-ahead to the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), to carry out redevelopment work at Qutab Golf Course, while imposing a condition that the work around the lakes in the area, would remain stalled. “The DDA may carry out other activities, excluding the activity in relation to the lake,” the bench said.
A bench headed by justice Jawad Rahim, granted the relief to the DDA, after senior advocate Rajiv Bansal and advocate Kush Sharma sought urgent directions, to carry out other development activities around the lake. They told the green panel that if the order was not vacated, it would cause a great loss to the public exchequer. The matter was fixed for further hearing on August 8, 2017.
On July 12, 2017, the bench had restrained the DDA from carrying out any activity, after it had failed to respond to an NGO’s plea, alleging that concretisation of the lakes, would adversely affect the recharge of ground water in the Qutab Golf Course at the Lado Sarai area. In its plea, the DDA had contended that the five lakes, as alleged by the NGO, were already in existence since the inception of the golf course in 2000.
“Hence, the allegation that DDA is constructing new artificial lakes, is outrageously false and the same is a figment of the petitioner’s imagination, having publicity-centric mind and have been made with a sole motive of just to gain publicity by interfering in the smooth operation of the DDA’s plan for renovation of the Qutab Golf Course. The renovation has been framed, with a view to stop the wastage of water during watering on turf, for getting rid of contaminated grass and weeds, for planting a variety of hybrid grass and to further ensure that sufficient green area is maintained within the golf course premises,” the plea had said.
The DDA had contended that it tried to file its reply in the case, which had annexures, including certain maps of the site in question, but had failed to do so due to non-conversion of maps to PDF format. “Due to the new NGT guidelines for e-filing of documents, the DDA tried to contact various photostat vendors, to convert the maps to PDF format as required by the registry, but due to non-availability of the technology in the nearby area, the maps could not be converted to PDF format and the reply could not be filed on time,” it had said.
The stay order of the green panel had come during the hearing of the plea by NGO CHETNA, seeking a stay on such construction activity and asking the DDA to place on record the source of water that is intended to be used for the lakes. The NGO had claimed that due to insufficient rainfall in Delhi, the artificial water bodies proposed to be constructed cannot possibly be filled up on a sustainable basis by rain water.