An NGO alleging unauthorised construction in the ecologically sensitive southern Ridge area by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has prompted the National Green Tribunal to seek a response from the Centre and the varsity on the issue.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to Ministry of Environment and Forests, JNU, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi government and others while seeking their reply within two weeks.
The order came on the NGO CHETNA’s plea against JNU, National Intelligence Grid and CRPF for constructing illegal buildings in reserve forest area without environmental clearance.
However, the NGO confined its plea to illegal construction in JNU and said it would file separate petitions for other violations.
“Counsel appearing for the applicant submits that the present application would confine to the unauthorised construction of seven buildings in JNU Campus in violation of law and in the forest area. Issue notice to the respondents,” the bench also comprising Justice R S Rathore said and listed the matter for next hearing on November 7.
The NGO contended that JNU comes under the South Central Ridge (Reserve Forest) category and any type of construction is prohibited in it.
It claims that seven buildings were erected on the fragile eco-zone on the JNU campus without taking prior permission from Ridge Management Board threatening the area’s ecology.
The buildings include 24 type-III flats for staff at Paschimabad, sewage treatment plant in Saraswatipuram, new hostel building near Shipra hostel, Trans-Disciplinary academic building, Yamuna hostel warden flats and dining hall.
The NGO has also alleged that dumping of debris was being carried out in reserved forest areas of Vasant Kunj and Ghitorni.
The debris, spread over 100 sq metres in 2013, is now over a kilometre long, and 15 feet deep, the plea claimed.