The National Green Tribunal summoned the principal chief conservator of forests and AAP government's revenue secretary Wednesday to inform it about the reasons for delay in demarcation of forest land in Southern Ridge here. A bench headed by Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore asked both the officials to appear before it on January 31 and explain the matter as on December 19 last year, the principal chief conservator of forest had very clearly stated that complete steps have not been taken by the Revenue Department.
"In order to look into the issues thoroughly and to have the views of both i.e. the Forest Department and the Revenue Department, we direct principal chief conservator of forest and secretary, Revenue Department to be present before the tribunal on the next date," the bench said. The green panel had earlier 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 field by South Delhi resident Sonya Ghosh and others against encroachments on forest land in the Southern Ridge area and seeking their removal. The green panel had earlier rapped the Delhi government for its "casual" approach in demarcation of forest land in the Southern Ridge area and directed it to complete the exercise. It had warned that in case the order was not complied with, disciplinary proceedings would be initiated against the officials concerned and a cost of Rs 2 lakh would be paid by each respondent, particularly the Revenue Department and the Department of Forest. The NGT had earlier 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.
(With inputs from agencies.)