Locals say DDA sports facility to cost 1,000 trees
By Mausam Sharma in New Delhi
THE RESIDENTS of NRI Complex colony near Jahanpannah Club are locking horns with the Delhi Development Authority, which is constructing a sports complex in DDA- owned Chittaranjan Park.
The park, say the residents, will be built at the cost of at least 1,000 trees. The ambitious DDA project involves a sports complex with world- class swimming pools, a cricket ground, squash and badminton courts, restaurants and other facilities.
The construction work for the Rs 753- crore project started one week ago. But the agitation of the residents had started when the foundation stone for the sports complex was laid in January last year. The residents of nearby colonies such as NRI Complex and CR Park are so attached to the park that they are not ready to swallow the idea of it being turned into asports complex.
“The park provides an essential green cover. We don’t want that green cover to be eaten up,” said Nanita Sharma, an advocate in the Supreme Court who stays in NRI Complex. She added that the residents will soon file aPIL in this regard in the high court. “We will file the PIL because this is aserious environmental issue and must be taken care of,” Sharma said.
“We are not against the sports complex. But that doesn’t mean we want our green cover to be taken away. And if the project is as ambitious as they say it is, trees are bound to be felled,” she said. Sharma added that they have asked the DDA officials time and again to try and construct the sports complex somewhere else.
The residents said the greenery in the area was the main reason they chose to settle down there. “We used to live in Shalimar Bagh, but shifted here last year. It was the peaceful and green environment that pushed us to buy ahome here. But what are we going to do now?” said Usha Sharma, a 60- year- old resident of NRI Complex.
he residents further feel there is another problem apart from the green cover –the ground gives children an opportunity to be close to nature when they play there in the evenings. “If a sports complex is built, it will cater only to elite children. And the children from middle class families who play there now will lose their .place,” said Jyoti Jain, who stays in NRI Complex.
The residents also point out that recreational centres such as the Siri Fort complex and other sports clubs are there nearby, so the felling of trees is uncalled for.
But when asked about the issue, the director of public relations in the DDA, Neemo Dhar, said, “There are no trees in the park. It has only shrubs.”
mausam. sharma@ mailtoday. in