Green body against concretization in NCR

Ghaziabad, Aug 5 (IANS) The National Green Tribunal (NGT) Monday issued notice to government agencies here and in other National Capital Region (NCR) towns against concretization of ground surfaces.

The notice followed a petition filed by Akash Vashishtha of Hindustan Environment Action Group (HEAG) and asked the respondents to appear before the tribunal Sep 2.

The petition seeks "extension of the guidelines of the urban development ministry, issued in 2000, on greening of urban areas and landscaping the whole of the country for conservation and judicious use of natural resources, particularly land, water and soil".

Currently, the guidelines are applicable only to Delhi, while there are no central norms for urban green spaces in town and city planning for the rest of the country.

The petition also seeks a ban on the mindless concretization, which was endangering the ground water conditions in Ghaziabad, declared as a "critical area" by the Central Ground Water Authority.

The NGT issued notice to the ministries of urban development and poverty alleviation, environment and forests, Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), the Uttar Pradesh government, the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA), the Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).

The petitioner said that blatant concretization was raising temperatures by as much as six degrees Celsius and atmospheric carbon levels (a major greenhouse gas that leads to atmospheric warming), preventing rain water percolation by 90 percent and destroying the urban green cover.

"All the principles and parameters for urban planning are being sidelined and only monetary gains are being considered. Such a pattern of planning is flawed and unsustainable... Our future generations will have to pay dearly for such destructive development," Vashishtha said.

"Concrete surfaces reflect harmful Ultraviolet-B radiation, which enter human bodies and are fatal to all forms of life. It has also permanently degraded... killing its diverse micro and macro organisms, which maintain the soil fertility, and also destroying its other biological resources," the petition said.

"Contractors, municipal councillors and government agencies are in collusion with each other in mindlessly laying down interlocking tiles, cement bricks and are concretizing the city in the name of development," it said.

The Delhi High Court had ordered leaving a 6X6 feet open space around every tree. The NGT ordered a one metre space around trees. Both orders are being reportedly flouted.

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