The Delhi government's public works department is damaging the highly-protected ridge area.
In an affidavit submitted to the National Green Tribunal, the Delhi Development Authority has said that the PWD has dumped truckloads of debris in Sanjay Van, a notified reserve forest in the ridge area.
The DDA told the tribunal that the PWD has collected debris from other sites and dumped it in the forest opposite ICSSR Building of JNU at Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, causing a boundary wall of the forest to collapse.
The DDA has in a letter to the PWD asked it to remove the debris and repair the damaged boundary. The DDA said that the matter would be referred to the forest department for appropriate action.
The Delhi ridge is a part of the 800-km, ancient Aravali mountains spreading from Gujarat, traversing through Rajasthan, Haryana and entering Delhi. Maintained by the DDA in 784 acres, Sanjay Van is a part of Mehrauli/south-central ridge in Delhi, which has been under concrete onslaught due to ever-increasing urbanisation.
During a recent inspection, government agencies had found several non-forestry activities in the forest. The inspection found an idgah, one burial and two cremation grounds in use, besides two schools and a liquor shop. The boundary walls were also found damaged at several places.
While the DDA removed the liquor shop and repaired breaches in the boundaries by putting barbed wire fencing, other structures could not be relocated because of lack of alternative sites.
Meanwhile, the tribunal has banned dumping of debris in reserve forest areas of the ridge. The tribunal also asked the DDA and the PWD to remove the existing debris from there. The tribunal said anyone found dumping debris in the reserved forest area would pay the removal charges of R25,000 per truck.
The tribunal said police would prevent dumping and would be entitled to the fine. The tribunal's order came on an application alleging that non-forest activity is taking place in the ridge area. The tribunal has asked the Delhi chief secretary to ensure execution of the order by July 12.