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Parts of 2 villages in South Delhi get ‘reserved’ forest tag

Around 138 bighas in Chhatarpur and around 825 bighas in Rangpuri were recently notified under Section 20 of the Indian Forest Act.

Delhi, Delhi latest news, Chhatarpur, Rangpuri, Delhi forest, Indian Forest Act, reserved forest, indian expressNotification of the Ridge is being done in 3 phases

The Delhi government has notified forest land in two villages in South Delhi as ‘reserved forest’, kickstarting the process of providing legal protection to parts of the Ridge that were not yet notified.

Around 138 bighas in Chhatarpur and around 825 bighas in Rangpuri were recently notified under Section 20 of the Indian Forest Act. According to a senior official of the forest department, the areas notified in these two villages were free of encroachments and conflicts over land.

As per the Act, the notification means that no rights can be acquired over the land that has been declared reserved forest unless it is “under a grant or contract in writing made or entered into by or on behalf of the Government”. It also means no fresh clearings can be made on such land for cultivation or any other purpose, except in accordance with rules made by the state government in the matter.

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The notifications are being issued a year after a National Green Tribunal order in January 2021 directed the Delhi government to notify those areas “about which there is no controversy” in three months. The NGT had also directed the government to identify the remaining area for notification and prepare an action plan to remove encroachments.

Notification of the Ridge is being done in three phases, the official said. Areas in around 22 villages are to be notified — 18 in South Forest Division and 4 in West Forest Division. In the first phase, those areas in which there are no encroachments and no existing litigation over the land are being notified. In this phase, in addition to the two that were already notified, proposals for the notification of 12 other areas has been sent to the government, the official said. This includes parts of Rajokri, Ghitorni and Rajpur Khurd.

The second phase will involve notification of those areas where there are “encumbrances” but no litigation over the land. In the South forest division, around 355 hectares of land has been identified as “encroached”, the official said.

The structures on encroached land are mostly unauthorised colonies and farmhouses, he added. Of the total, encroachments on around 55 hectares of land have been cleared. “Requests are placed with police for protection, and removal is carried out when we get assistance,” he said.

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Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Ishwar Singh said removal of these encroachments is an ongoing process. The notified parts of the Ridge are also to be demarcated and fenced. “There are some areas where rights are to be settled, others where there are pending court cases,” he said.

The villages in the South Forest Division where areas will be declared ‘reserved forest’ include Neb Sarai, Asola, Jaunapur, Tughlakabad, Aya Nagar and Maidangarhi.

First published on: 08-02-2022 at 01:56:51 am
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