The Supreme Court of India recently refused to halt the construction of the fourth phase of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) expansion project, despite environmental concerns raised by activists. The court’s decision was based on the potential cost escalation that would result from halting the project at this stage.
Background of Delhi Metro Phase 4
The Delhi Metro is a rapid transit system that serves the National Capital Territory of Delhi and its satellite cities. The first phase of the metro network began operations in 2002. And since then, the DMRC has continued to expand the network. The Delhi Metro Phase 4 of the project involves the construction of six new lines, which will add 103.94 km to the existing network.
The Delhi Metro Phase 4: Environmental concerns
Environmental activists have raised concerns about the impact of the construction on the environment. The construction of the metro line will involve the felling of thousands of trees, leading to a loss of habitat for wildlife and a reduction in the existing poor air quality of Delhi-NCR. The construction will also result in soil erosion and loss of fertile topsoil. The construction of the metro line could also lead to noise pollution, disrupting the lives of people living in the vicinity.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had earlier raised concerns about the environmental impact of the project. Furthermore, they have directed the DMRC to obtain necessary clearances from the authorities concerned.
Court’s decision to continue work
Despite the environmental concerns raised by activists, the Supreme Court refused to halt the construction of Phase IV of the Delhi Metro project. The court cited the potential cost escalation that would result from halting the project at this stage. The court also directed the DMRC to take necessary steps to minimize the environmental impact of the project.
The DMRC has announced plans to minimize the environmental impact of the project. The corporation will transplant trees where possible and ensure that no trees are felled unnecessarily. The DMRC will also take measures to minimize air and noise pollution caused by construction work. In addition, the corporation will obtain necessary clearances from the authorities concerned and follow all necessary guidelines and regulations.
Expert Opinion on the Decision
Environmental experts have expressed disappointment at the court’s decision. Vimlendu Jha, an environmentalist and founder of Swechha, a non-profit organization, said, “It is very disappointing that despite the National Green Tribunal’s order, the Supreme Court did not see the seriousness of the environmental impact of the project. It sets a wrong precedent that development is above environmental concerns.”
The Supreme Court’s decision to continue the construction of the fourth phase of the Delhi Metro project despite environmental concerns highlights the need to balance development with environmental conservation. While the expansion of the metro network is essential for the growth of the economy, it should not come at the cost of the environment. The DMRC’s plan to minimize the environmental impact of the project is a step in the right direction, but it remains to be seen whether the measures will be effective in mitigating the damage caused by the construction.
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