As green belts continue to face the threat from rampant encroachment and increasing commercial activity, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has prohibited tree felling in the stretch located along Mehrauli-Badarpur Highway in south Delhi’s Saket area.
"There shall be no tree cutting on the stretch of green belt indicated in the application without following due process of law and no commercial activity…be permitted along the said stretch of green belt," a bench headed by Justice U D Salvi said.
The green panel also on Monday directed the Delhi government to file its reply within two weeks on the plea of Saket residents who had moved the tribunal against increasing encroachment in the area.
The matter is listed for next hearing on January 5.
The green panel was hearing a plea of Tripta Sood and Vivek Pande who had sought directions to maintain status quo to protect the green belt, which is about 1.5 km long and 13 m wide, along the Mehrauli-Badarpur Highway in Saket from any change in land use and stoppage of tree felling and encroachment.
According to the petition, this green belt, which has more than 1500 trees, acts as a "green buffer" between the busy Mehrauli-Badarpur highway and the houses on Gurudwara Road siphoning out the air and noise pollution.
It also shields Vidya Niketan school and provides protection to the school children from noise and pollution, it had said.
"The green belt has been protected by a concrete wall running on its boundary throughout the entire stretch.
Unfortunately, some residents have demolished the wall in front of their homes and use the green belt for parking vehicles.
"Similarly, a patch of the green belt is being used as a passage to access Saket Metro station both by two-wheelers and pedestrians," the plea had alleged.
It had said that the green belt has been maintained by MCD, NGOs and the residents of Gurudwara Road since 1980.
It had pleaded for a direction that the encroachment for parking and other activities in the green belt be removed and the boundary wall in the area be reconstructed.