NGT imposes Rs 5 cr fine on UP govt
Uttar Pradesh

NGT imposes Rs 5 cr fine on UP govt

Lucknow, Nov3: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has indicted Uttar Pradesh Government for illegal felling of trees for development of Chak Gajaria as Hi-Tech city leading to damage to ecology and has asked the government to pay Rs 5 crore as compensation for damaging the green cover.

The compensation should be paid to Central Pollution Control Board towards the loss of the ecological services forever. The NGT in its order further said that money should be used as a part of Environment Restitution Fund.

The deposit may be made within three months failing which interest will be payable at the rate of 12 per cent per annum, the order further said.

The issue relates to illegal felling of trees at at Chak Ganjaria Farm was transferred from Supreme Court to NGT on March 6, 2017. On directions from NGT the Uttar Pradesh government was asked to collect satellite data. A report was prepared by Remote Sensing Applications Centre (RSAC) while another report was also sought from National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), Hyderabad.

As per report the Vegetative Cover of density between 40-70 per cent which was 0.684 hectares in 2012 has become zero in 2017. Similar the built up area which was 0.147 hectare in 2012 has increased to 7.266 hectares in 2017 .

“There has been damage to the forest without due process of law. Though Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) counsel claimed that permission was taken before felling trees but no data has been furnished. It is stated that 7,944 trees were felled after permission and amount of Rs. 96 Lakh was deposited towards the cost of the trees but this does not cover illegally felled trees,” NGT said in its order on Thursday .

Amicus Curiae states that it is possible to infer on rough and ready basis that the affected area is about 50 hectares and on that basis Compensatory Afforestation requires to be done in area which is ten times i.e. 500 hectares. “As per additional affidavit if 22.08.2017 government claims 1,19,000 trees have been planted in lieu of trees cut after taking permission. There is no Compensatory Afforestation for the trees illegally cut so far,” the order said.

The State Forest Department should undertake Compensatory Afforestation on 500 hectare. The department will also be responsible for its maintenance, the order said.

“The state should also take appropriate action against the persons responsible for illegal felling of trees. Such steps may be completed within three months,” the NGT said.(UNI)