The National Green Tribunal has stayed the concretisation of roadsides and road berms in Noida and Greater Noida in excess of the limits prescribed by authorities.

A Bench of Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert Dr. Afroz Ahmad issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Uttar Pradesh government, Noida and others on a plea seeking to remove concretisation around trees.

"Let notices be issued to the respondents requiring them to file replies specifically responding to all material averments made in the application within two months", the Tribunal ordered.

"In the meanwhile, respondents no. 3 and 4 are directed not to carry out any further act of concretisation of roadsides and road berms in Noida and Greater Noida in excess of limits prescribed vide Government order dated March 23, 2018 issued by the State of Uttar Pradesh concurred by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change...," the Bench directed.

The tribunal said averments made in the petition raise substantial questions relating to the environment arising out of the implementation of the enactments specified in Schedule-I to the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 and illegality of proposed action of respondents.

The Tribunal passed the order on a plea filed by environment activist Vikrant Tongad and dermatologist Dr. Supriya Mahajan, stating that the Noida and Greater Noida authorities were concretising entire roadsides and green/vegetated road berms in flagrant violation of the orders of the Tribunal and the government orders issued by the state.

The Petitioners pleaded that reckless, excessive and indiscriminate concretisation of road sides and road berms is being carried out by the Noida Authority in Sectors 28, 37, 47 50, 55 and 62 of Noida and by Greater Noida Authority.

The Petitioners sought directions to plant grass and other vegetation, including shrubs and herbs, on roadsides and road berms in Noida and Greater Noida, after deconcretising them.

Advocate Akash Vashishtha, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that concretisation of ground obstructs groundwater recharge and causes loss of biodiversity.

"It has been the consistent and settled position that roadsides and road berms cannot be concretized," he submitted.

"Such sudden, alarming increase in the ambient temperatures in last few years is not because of seasonal and meteorological factors alone but because of these entirely concretized ground surfaces. In the absence of harvesting systems, these roadsides serve as the only medium of natural groundwater recharge and those, too, are usurped for concretization," Mr. Vashishtha argued during the course of extensive arguments.

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