New Delhi: The Noida Park that has been controversially constructed by the Mayawati government in UP in the 33 hectares buffer zone of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary was categorised as an ”area development” project by Justice Aftab Alam in the Supreme Court. This opinion of the specially constituted forest bench is significant because it will determine whether or not the UP government needed the prior clearance of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), which it has not got till date. The opinion, if it trancends into the final ruling of the court, will have a bearing on how projects are classified in the future, for environmental clearances.
The petition, which was filed by Anand Arya, has also raised the ciritcal question of how to define a forest. The court has reopened this question of law, which was previously ruled upon by the apex court in the 1996 Godavarman case and the 2003 Samatha case.
Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia has asked the government to file an affidavit next week, on how to determine whether this project is a building, construction or area development project.
Senior advocate, K K Venugopal, who appeared for the UP government told the court that the dome of the memorial in the park must be completed before the Commonwealth Games.
PMO, Congress ‘monitoring’ CWG
New Delhi: With allegations of corruption mounting over the Commonwealth Games (CWG) preparations, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s office and Congress leadership seem to be ensuring a “close monitoring” of the preparations.
Although ruled out any supervisory committee’s appointment immediately, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office said: “But there would be more closely monitoring the preparations.” The official, who did not want to be identified, also said the cabinet secretary on Friday met officials from the concerned ministries to take stock of the situation.
Meanwhile, Congress top leadership also met on Friday for its routine “core committee” meeting. According to a senior party leader, the leaders including party chief Sonia Gandhi and Singh, discussed the issue. “The corruption charges and the media reports on the irregularities have damaged the image of the party and the government. It’s a matter of concern,” said a party leader but did not divulged the details about the meeting.
The Central Vigilance Commission, whch oversees financial decisions taken by state-owned firms, has found irregularities in the award of projects for the Games.Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of CWG’s orgainising committee and a Congress member of Parliament, is under fire for the irregularities, delays in the project completion and cost overruns. The government has assured Parliament that it would probe corruption charges after the October event is over. However, the party has distanced from Kalmadi.