The national green tribunal on Friday took cognizance of a recent report published in HT on acute resource crunch in the forest department and sought a reply if this was the reason for their failure to take care of the ecologically fragile Delhi ridge area.
The tribunal also asked the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to explain construction of roads through the reserve forests in the area and list the number of encroachments. The tribunal also sought to know the steps taken after its recent order for removal of debris from the ridge area. The tribunal said nothing had been done even two months after its order.
In the event of no response by the next date of hearing, the department heads (secretary-environment and forests and DDA vice-chairman) will have to appear before the tribunal personally, the NGT ruled.
The tribunal ordered that the Delhi Police would assist in removal of all encroachments from the ridge area. The tribunal said anyone found dumping debris in the reserved forest area would pay the removal charges at Rs. 25,000 per truck. The tribunal said police would prevent dumping and would be entitled to the fine.
The tribunal’s order came on an application filed by amicus curiae Raj Panjwani assisted by advocate Rahul Choudhary, alleging that non-forest activity is taking place in the ridge area.
The tribunal said inaction on the part of the authorities concerned has resulted in destruction of the ridge and through non-forest activity in the reserved forest area.