A Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee inspected unauthorised construction being carried out allegedly by government agencies near Mahipalpur village and Vasant Kunj in south Delhi.
This follows concerns raised by environmentalists over the continued damage to the ecologically-sensitive south-central Aravali ridge and some water bodies.
“We have inspected the area with Delhi Development Authority (DDA) officials. They have to clarify issues, including that of land ownership and land use. We will submit our report to the court soon,” said committee chairman Bhure Lal.
“Illegal construction is going on everywhere in the city. Municipal corporations have the power to remove such structures and they should do so,” he said.
The next hearing is likely to take place on February 26, when the committee would submit its report.
The inspection was prompted by a petition submitted by Kissan Mahasangh, seeking curative measures to protect the age-old ecosystem on the South-Central ridge.
Experts like Vikram Soni, Vani Sundarji, Diwan Singh, Ravi Agarwal and Manas Ranjan Mishra said they have also found instances of destruction of heritage and old trees in the area.
“Preventive measures must be taken at the earliest,” said Singh of Ridge Bachao Andolan.
Kissan Mahasangh co-convener colonel (retired) Devinder Sehrawat told HT: “After instructions from the monitoring committee, DDA officials held a meeting on December 19, promised to intervene and stop the construction work and bring in green projects. But construction continues unabated.”
He said encroachment by government agencies was being carried out on and near a dam and linked structures built by Feroz Shah Tughlaq in 14th century and an embankment near Vasant Kunj, all part of the ridge area.
In the petition, Sehrawat had demanded cancellation of 102 bighas of gram sabha (common) land allotted to government agencies for construction of offices and residential accommodations and demanded utilisation of the land for parks and playgrounds.