PWD gets notice for demolition waste on forest department land
The Delhi forest department has issued a restraining order to the public works department (PWD) to stop it from dumping construction and debris waste on a green belt near Brar Square in Delhi Cantonment, which is deemed forest land.
Officials of the PWD did not comment on the order.
The order, issued by deputy conservator of forests (DCF- west zone) Navneet Srivastava on February 11, said the PWD was found “dumping construction waste/malba inside the green belt located near Brar Square railway crossing on the Ring Road”.
It further said, “..the green area on the said road (inner Ring Road) is a deemed forest and dumping construction waste in the said area is a violation of Section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act (1980).”
The order stated that the PWD is restrained from “all kinds of construction work/dumping construction waste on the entire inner Ring Road with immediate effect”.
In Delhi’s context, “an area above 2.5 acres having a density of 100 trees per acre as well as green stretches along roads and drains having a length of one kilometre” are considered deemed forests.
According to the rules, to undertake any “non-forest related activity” in such area, permission has to be sought from the Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change.
The green belt near the Brar Square railway station features in the original list of areas identified as deemed forest land, in an affidavit submitted by the Delhi forest department in 1997 before the Supreme Court in the TN Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union of India case. In any case, any area that fulfils the conditions of the definition of ”deemed forest” is to be protected by the forest department.
Further, dumping of construction waste is not just prohibited on forest land but is also illegal in any public space, according to the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act
The forest department order came on a complaint received by the office of the deputy conservator of forests, stating that on November 4, 2020, the PWD was found undertaking “some kind of earth levelling work by dumping construction and demolition waste on the green belt”.
Such activity was also noticed on November 19 and then again on December 10, according to the complaint.
A follow-up on that complaint, sent on January 20, 2021, asserted that the activity was still continuing.
Deputy conservator of forests Srivastava said no fine has been imposed on the PWD yet. “We have not levied any monetary penalty yet. The matter is being investigated now. Since the restraining order was issued, no fresh dumping has been noticed at the site,” he said.
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