The sprawl of the National Capital Region (NCR) just got bigger as the nod has been given for the inclusion of Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh and the Jind and Karnal districts of Haryana as part of the conurbation.
Urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu announced the decision for including the three districts in NCR after chairing a meeting today of the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) here.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, ministers of Delhi and Rajasthan governments and senior officials of the UP government were present for the said meeting. Naidu said that a committee has been appointed to look into the demands for the inclusion of more areas in NCR.
"We have appointed a committee which will go into the aspects of what areas are to be included," he said.
The Union minister said that before including any area, the view of the particular state government will also have to be taken. He added that a representation had come for the inclusion of Mathura in NCR which has now been referred to the committee and also to UP government.
Officials said that while the decision to include Jind and Karnal was taken earlier, it was kept in abeyance as there was a thinking that the addition of new districts to NCR should not be allowed till their infrastructure reached a certain level.
Referring to another important issue related to 'Mangar Bani', a forest area in the Aravalis along the Gurgaon-Faridabad highway, Naidu said the state government had decided to demarcate a 500-m buffer zone around it.
He added that all NCR states had been asked to expeditiously designate Special Conservation Zones. However, there was a practical problem in that some satellite images in old records do not reflect the present status on the ground, he added.
"We have said that every state with the help of experts should carry out a survey to find the ground truth," he said.
Where records show a forested area, buildings maybe have been come up, Naidu said. He added that while the records may show 20 per cent of the area of Delhi under forests, it may not be so in rality and has to be verified. Haryana chief minister Khattar said that with the inclusion of Jind and Karnal in NCR, 57 per cent of the state's area had become part of the entity.
On the question of Mangar forest, Khattar said it was very important to ensure its preservation.
Naidu, on the other hand, also said that there was a discussion on the definition of 'Forest' during the meeting and the Union Environment and Forest secretary has been asked to seek the opinion of the Attorney General in this regard.
He also said there was a suggestion that the Delhi-Alwar RRTS be taken up to Sota Nala, which is an industrial area.