1,618 trees to be impacted during expansion of IIT-Delhi’s campus | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

1,618 trees to be impacted during expansion of IIT-Delhi’s campus

Jan 23, 2024 05:14 AM IST

The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has submitted a proposal to expand its campus, impacting 1,618 trees. The State Expert Appraisal Committee has asked the institute to revise its plan and reduce the number of trees affected. An environmental clearance will only be awarded if the tree impact figure is reduced. The estimated cost of the project is ₹458.73 crore.

The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has submitted a proposal to Delhi’s State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC), seeking environmental approval for the expansion of its campus to construct or redevelop nine buildings during which 1,618 trees would be impacted, according to documents seen by HT.

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Out of the 1,618 trees, 1,136 are proposed to be felled, and 482 transplanted. However, SEAC has asked the institute to review its plan and flagged the number of trees that would be impacted as “extraordinarily high”.

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It has also said an environmental clearance (EC) will only be awarded if this figure is brought down, apart from the over 50 other conditions the body has laid down as terms of reference are followed.

The Delhi SEAC is a statutory body that screens construction projects, allotting an environmental clearance if all conditions laid down by it are met. The same proposal also has to be accepted by the Delhi State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA). The SEAC comprises 12 members, including retired IAS officers and experts in the fields of architecture and environment.

HT reached out to IIT Delhi, but did not get a response on request for comments.

The estimated cost for the proposed project is 458.73 crore. Some of the work would be carried out at sites of existing buildings post their demolition — these include a six-storey academic block, five blocks of type VI faculty housing and two blocks of type C residential quarters. A substation is also planned to be built on campus, the proposal added.

“As a result of the above-said demolition, redevelopment and addition of new buildings, the net-build up area of campus will increase by 98,740 sqm. Hence, the total (existing + modification and expansion) built-up area will be 869,304 sqm,” said the proposal laid before SEAC earlier this month.

The body, which held its latest meeting on January 4, has asked IIT Delhi to revise its proposal and bring down the final figure of trees being impacted when it submits an environmental impact assessment (EIA) report for the project.

“Out of the 1,669 trees in the proposed project site, 1,136 trees are to be cut and 482 are proposed to be transplanted. So, 97% of the trees will be cut or transplanted and only 3% will be retained. This is an extraordinarily high number of trees being removed,” said SEAC, as per the minutes of the meeting, a copy of which HT has seen.

SEAC chairman Vijay Garg told HT, “We have observed that most trees on the site are being felled or being transplanted. To get the final clearance, a revised proposal will have to be submitted, which brings down this figure. While invasive species should not be saved, efforts need to be made to preserve as many native species as possible.”

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