The National Green Tribunal has ordered status quo on construction of a housing complex adjacent to the Delhi University campus.
Applying the "Precautionary Principle" of environmental law, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said evaluation of relevant data is required by a joint committee comprising representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Ministry of Environment and Forests and IIT Delhi.
"In the meanwhile, no further construction activity may be undertaken and status quo as on today may be maintained. It will be permissible for the applicant as well as to the project proponent to furnish their viewpoint to the Member Secretary, CPCB for consideration by the committee within two weeks," the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea by Delhi University challenging the environmental clearance granted to a housing project by Young Builders (P) Ltd in North Delhi.
The green body said CPCB will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance.
"The Committee may also undertake carrying capacity study of the area with reference to the project in question based on the relevant data. The study may be completed preferably within two months," the bench said.
The plea, filed through advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Salik Shafique, had challenged the order of the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) granting Environmental Clearance (EC) for the housing complex located at 1 and 3 Cavalry Lane and 4 Chhatra Marg at Civil Lines in Delhi.
It had said the EC could be granted by the Ministry of Environment AND Forests and not by SEIAA as the project is within 10 km from Critically Polluted Area, notified by CPCB.
"Najafgarh, Naraina, Wazirpur and Anand Parbat are critically polluted areas. The project is in Silence Zone being within 100 m from Delhi University and Patel Chest Institute. The area is in water scarcity zone. The Sulphate content of groundwater is above the specified limit.
"As per the project proponent's own report, the project is susceptible to subsidence and liquefaction during major earthquake. Geo-Technical investigation needs to be carried out which has not been done. Traffic plans/congestion filed by the project proponent with the application is based on the statistics of July 2011," the plea said.