March 29, 2021 3:15:46 am
The forest department has issued a notice to the Delhi Jal Board and Indraprastha Gas Limited for laying water and gas pipelines and to the irrigation and flood control department for constructing a road in the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, officials said. The notice was issued earlier this month, officials said, for an apparent violation of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 by the agencies. Officials said construction work was done three-four years ago. It came to light recently when tracking of violations began after officials received the forest land map in 2020, following completion of the forest land survey in 2018.
Officials said the road and pipelines were being laid as part of the Centre’s 1986 Twenty Point Programme, aimed at poverty alleviation and improvement in quality of life. “A residential colony was to be developed in the sanctuary area under the Twenty Point Programme. Pipelines and road were to cater to this colony. A hearing on this has been underway since 2013 by the forest settlement officer… Details have been sought from DJB, IGL and the irrigation department about permission received for construction in the area,” an official said.
DJB staff said the office is yet to receive the letter and that the line, according to DJB officials, has not been laid through the sanctuary.
Meanwhile, the forest department is making a push to declare 19 villages in Southern Ridge area as ‘reserved forest’ from ‘proposed reserved forest’, following NGT’s directions in January. Officials said as per a notification in 1994 under section 4 of the Indian Forest Act 1927, the Delhi Ridge is a declared to be a reserved forest. To officially make it a reserved forest, a notification under Section 20 of the 1927 Act has to be issued.
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