New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) The Delhi forest department has issued notices to the Delhi Jal Board, Irrigation and Flood Control Department and Indraprastha Gas Limited for constructing a road and laying water and gas pipelines through the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, officials have said.
Permission under the Forest Conservation Act is required from the Union Environment Ministry for such works in a wildlife sanctuary. The ministry also seeks the advice of the National Board of Wildlife on such matters, according to officials.
The road, gas and water pipelines lead to Asola Homes, a residential project in Chattarpur, Deputy Conservator of Forests (South Division) Amit Anand said. Forest officials said Asola Homes has also come up on land that falls under the wildlife sanctuary. A case is pending before the forest settlement officer in this regard for around six years. “Google Earth images show the road was constructed in 2017,” he said.
Earlier this month, the department issued notices to the water utility, IGL and I&FC, which constructed the road through the wildlife sanctuary.
“Officials from I&FC and IGL participated in a hearing before forest department officials recently. They have been asked to submit an affidavit, listing all facts, including from where they received permission for constructing the road and laying the pipeline, by April 15,” Anand said.
A notice had been issued to the DJB, too, but it returned undelivered. “Now, it will be physically handed over to DJB officials,” he said.
A DJB official said they will go through the notice and submit a reply.
“A water supply pipeline was laid around five years ago, but it is outside the wildlife sanctuary, near its boundary wall,” he said.
Forest officials said the matter will go to court if the agencies fail to furnish documents establishing they had necessary permission.
The wildlife sanctuary covers 32.71 sqkm area on the Southern Delhi Ridge of the Aravalli hill range on the Delhi-Haryana border.
It is part of the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor, which extends from the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan to Delhi Ridge.PTI GVS DV DV