The status quo on felling of trees in Delhi continues as the National Green Tribunal (NGT) bulldozed National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) plea that it was losing Rs 25 lakhs per day as it was not being allowed to cut trees to resume the construction.

NBCC submitted a reply in the green court saying that they had taken all necessary permissions for redevelopment under General Pool Residential Accommodation (GPRA) project in South Delhi including building a World Trade Centre commercial complex in Nauroji Nagar.

The petitions have been filed by NGOs Chetna and Green Circle against cutting of 16,500 trees which are likely to get chopped if the construction goes through.

Petitioner and Lawyer Anil Sood said that even as NBCC claimed they had taken all permissions they didn’t have one to extract ground water for construction, neither had the Central Pollution Control Board assessed the level of pollution it may cause. “If the NBCC claims to be losing Rs 25 lakhs per day on account of their illegalities due to which they are not being allowed construction, the citizens stand to lose Rs 2.5 crore per day on account of health hazards that pollution poses to them,” Sood argued in court.

NGT had issued notices to Municipality of Delhi, Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi Pollution Control Committee, COF, Delhi Police, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Development Authority, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, Central Public Works Department and NBCC (India) Limited in the case.

None of the respondents in the case except NBCC, CPCB and Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) have replied in the case. The court has granted one week's time for other parties to file their replies and fixed the next date of hearing for July 27. Another case related to the contentious tree-felling issue will come up for hearing in Delhi High Court on July 26.

NGT had passed a stay order on July 2 against any cutting of trees until further orders. “Despite the stay order, NBCC has been allegedly violating the court directives. Citizens have noticed dumps and dumps of rubble being thrown on tree stems to make them weak,” said Chhavi Methi, a resident and an activist in South Delhi.