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NGT raps AAP govt over ridge demarcation, seeks proper map

New Delhi | The National Green Tribunal on Monday rapped the Delhi government over improper depiction of encroachments on forest land in Southern Ridge and sought a proper map giving complete detail.

A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore directed the principal secretary of the Revenue Department to have a proper map prepared, under his supervision, by calling all the officials concerned, giving a complete picture about the forest land and encroachments.

“The Revenue Department shall give a complete detail with regard to the khasra number; the total area and the date when such allotments were made. It shall also show as to whether proper approval, in accordance to law, for allotment of forest land had been obtained or not,” the bench said.

It also warned that in case of failure to prepare a complete and proper map before the next date, it would pass coercive orders against the officials of the Revenue Department.

“The map and other details on an affidavit of principal secretary, Revenue Department may be filed before three days of the next date of hearing,” the bench also comprising expert member Satyawan Singh Garbyal, said while posting the matter for next hearing on April 5.

The tribunal said the map, prepared by the Revenue Department, which has been shown to it, has neither been signed by the official of the Revenue Department, nor is the same authentic as there is no seal of the department.

“As a matter of fact, the marking of encroachment on the said map does not appear to be correct. The department has not prepared the map in a proper manner by first showing the entire forest area in a particular colour, thereafter the encroachments within that area by different colour, any other indications by a separate colour and so on.

“It is rather strange that the Revenue Department has to be suggested/advised by us as to how a map of a particular area is to be prepared wherein different situations are to be indicated,” the bench said.

The green panel had earlier slammed the department over varying figures on forest land encroachments in Southern Ridge and said it didn’t want ‘tamasha’ and sought authentic information on the issue.

It had granted a month to the department and the forest officials to inform it about the actual status of encroachments and the time needed for ridge demarcation.

The NGT had earlier summoned the principal chief conservator of forests and the AAP government’s revenue secretary to inform it about the reasons for delay in demarcation of forest land in Southern Ridge here.

The green panel had directed the principal chief conservator of forests to file an affidavit stating how much time would be needed to take the possession of demarcated forest land in the Southern Ridge area here.

The tribunal was hearing a bunch of pleas filed by South Delhi resident Sonya Ghosh and others against encroachments on forest land in the Southern Ridge area and seeking their removal.

The NGT had directed the Delhi government to adhere to the time schedule and expeditiously carry out demarcation of the area falling within their limits.

It had said the city government was frustrating the orders of the green panel on one pretext or another and showing “disdainful conduct” in the matter.

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