Delhi HC asks Army to respond to allegations of deforestation on ridge

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 01-03-2024 17:06 IST | Created: 01-03-2024 17:02 IST
Delhi HC asks Army to respond to allegations of deforestation on ridge
Representative image Image Credit: ANI
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The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Army to respond to allegations of clearing a green patch on the Central Ridge in the cantonment area of the national capital.

Justice Tushar Rao Gedela, while dealing with a petition for preservation and conservation of the Ridge, asked the competent officer of the Army unit stationed there to file an affidavit and advised the military authorities against carrying out activities that may result in deforestation.

While the central government counsel denied tree-felling by the Army, the judge suggested that ameliorative measures like afforestation be carried out in the area, saying ''in Delhi, every tree planted is more valuable than gold''.

The amici curiae in the matter, lawyers Gautam Narayan, Prabhsahay Kaur and Aditya N Prasad, told the court that they visited the area last month and found patches of land of about 25 acres have been cleared of all vegetation and trees without due permission.

The central government counsel appearing for the Army unit said although the force was undertaking the renovation of an already existing boundary wall, there was no tree-felling.

He also said the commanding officer has even sent a reply to the Tree Officer after a show cause notice was issued to him.

''Before any order is passed on the notes, it appears to be apposite to ask the Army unit present in the area to respond by filling an affidavit,'' the court said.

''In the meantime, it would be advisable to not carry out further steps that may result in deforestation in the Central Ridge,'' stated the court.

The court also asked the Tree Officer to file an appropriate order within one week on the show cause notice sent to the unit and asked the Delhi government counsel to file a status report.

In a note submitted to the court, the amici curiae said an analysis of the Google Earth imagery showed a ''large parcel of barren contiguous land within the confines of the Central Ridge with vehicle tracks marked'' and a site visit was scheduled last month.

The Ridge is an extension of the Aravalli hill range in Delhi and is a rocky, hilly and forested area. It has been divided into four zones '” south, south-central, central and north '” for administrative reasons. These four zones make up a total area of around 7,784 hectares.

''It was observed that the area in question was situated inside the Army Polo Club/Grounds at the east edge of the perimeter. Multiple patches of land have been cleared of all vegetation and barbed wire fencing has been installed along the perimeter,'' the note said.

The matter would be heard next on March 15.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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