The Supreme Court has allowed the Indian Institute of Mass Communication to cut 29 trees for the construction of a new building for the academic and hostel blocks as also a guest house subject to the Central Empowering Committee’s (CEC) conditions. A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian passed the order after noting that the apex court-appointed CEC has examined the issue and recommended permission is subject to certain conditions.
“We are of the opinion that the application be allowed in terms of the conditions stated by the CEC,” the bench said. The CEC recommended to the top court that the permission be given subject to the condition that IIMC deposit 5 percent of the sanctioned project cost with the Ridge Management Board Fund and under its close supervision and direction the amount should be used by the Forest Department, Delhi government, for conservation and protection of Delhi Ridge.
“The proposed construction shall not in any manner disturb the stormwater drain passing through the 16.2 acres of land in the possession of IIMC during the construction phase as well as the post-construction phase. The proposed buildings should optimally utilize the rooftop for harnessing solar energy; “The building plan shall make provision to ensure harvesting and utilization of the rainwater within the developed area.
The minimum number of trees which are absolutely unavoidable, for the construction of the building, only will be felled. IIMC shall demarcate the 16.2 acres of land allotted to it by JNU and submit a map of the proposed construction area,” CEC stated in its condition. It also states that a minimum of 40 percent of the 16.2 acres of the morphological ridge area shall be maintained as a green zone and the IIMC will undertake the planting of native tree species replacing the sublabel plants which were seen growing profusely in the open area during the site visit.
“The open area identified for providing parking slots shall be maintained as green area and accordingly the layout plans shall be modified,” it said. The apex court was hearing a plea by the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New JNU Campus seeking permission of this Court to construct a new building for the Academic Block, Hostel Block, and Guest House on the total area of 12,933 sq mt.
Susobhan Mondal, Assistant Registrar (Admn) of the IIMC told the top court that in lieu of the 29 tender trees to be cut, the applicant institute has planted 300 trees of different species and a list of the same has been enclosed. It is pointed out that the 29 trees which are cut belonged to shisham, kikar, and papri species.