NCRPB meet on draft Regional Plan 2041 cancelled

Published on Jul 05, 2022 02:58 PM IST

The draft was put in the public domain in December for comments and does not mention the Aravallis and tributaries of the Yamuna and Ganga in “natural zones”

 (HT PHOTO)
(HT PHOTO)

A meeting of the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) on Tuesday to discuss suggestions related to the draft Regional Plan 2041, which was put in the public domain in December for comments. has been put off, an official aware of the matter said.

The draft does not mention the Aravallis and tributaries of the Yamuna and Ganga in “natural zones”, triggering concerns that such a move will let states be selective about the areas they want to conserve.

“The meeting was called to discuss the various suggestions we have received regarding the draft plan. But the meeting has been cancelled. As of now, no fresh date has been fixed for it,” the official said, requesting anonymity. It was not immediately clear why the meeting was cancelled.

Officials said NCRPB has received suggestions to restore the term “natural conservation zone (NCZ)”, which was replaced with “natural zone”, in the draft plan.

The environment ministry officials have also held a meeting with NCRPB officials regarding NCZ, said a second official said. HT has reached out to the environment ministry for comments but did not receive a response immediately.

Nearly the entire Aravalli range in Delhi, Haryana, and Rajasthan is protected with no construction allowed in the area under the NCR Regional Plan 2021, which has been in force since 2005. The Draft Regional Plan 2041 says that a “natural zone” is an area with features such as mountains, hills, rivers and water bodies. Experts say if implemented, it would leave out a large portion of the Arvallis from the protected zone. It says the states will identify “natural zones” using revenue records and the ground situation.

The state governments have earlier tried to dilute the definition of the Aravallis with Haryana claiming there are no Aravallis in the state’s records since 2016, but NCRPB did not accepted it earlier.

The deletion of the Aravallis from the definition of areas included in the NCZ in the draft is feared to potentially have adverse implications for the air quality, groundwater recharge, forest cover and wildlife habitat in Delhi, Gurugram and Faridabad.

The draft plan says mountains, hills, rivers, water bodies, forests notified under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, wildlife sanctuaries notified under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and eco-sensitive zones, wetlands and conservation under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 will be declared as “natural zones”. It says the extent of natural features under the zones will be identified. Experts have said this will leave room for the states to be able to leave out large chunks from the conservation areas.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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