NGT forms fresh committee on natural conservation zones

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal constituted a fresh committee on Friday to look into the question whether sub-regional plans for protection of Natural Conservation Zones (NCZs) were consistent with the regional plan prepared by the National Capital Region Planning Board.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the committee would comprise representatives of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), National Remote Sensing Centre, Forest Survey of India as also Revenue secretaries and Principal Chief Conservators of Forest of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh Delhi and Rajasthan.

'By way of precaution, we direct that no land marked to be part of NCZ by the NCRPB may be diverted for any other purpose without permission of NCRPB till March 20, 2020. The nodal agency will be the MoEF. The exercise be conducted with reference to data base of 1999. Report may be furnished within three months by e-mail,' said the bench, also comprising Justices S P Wangdi and K Ramakrishnan.

The fresh committee was formed due to irreconcilable differences between the states and the NCRPB.

The tribunal had earlier slammed the MoEF for delay in informing it whether sub-regional plans, prepared by states for protection of NCZs, were consistent with the regional plan prepared by the National Capital Region Planning Board.

The NGT said that if the report was not being furnished by the states, sufficient time was available to ask the Chief Secretaries of the these states to do the needful.

The tribunal had on August 7 last year noted that some of the states had not completed the work of delineation of NCZ and directed preparation of such plans and a joint committee headed by the MoEF to examine the question whether the sub-regional plans are consistent with the regional plan prepared by NCRPB.

Earlier, in an affidavit filed before the tribunal, the NCRPB had submitted that there was shrinkage in NCZs such as forests, water bodies and waste lands in Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

It has said that NCRPB after perusing the variations shown in analysis done by the National Remote Sensing Centre immediately acted upon the observations and sent letters to participating states of Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and NCT of Delhi and sought response for such shrinkage.

According to the NCRPB, the shrinkage of NCZ in Haryana sub-region is 25.97 per cent, 15.43 per cent in NCT of Delhi, 43.88 per cent in Uttar Pradesh sub-region and 11.18 per cent in Rajasthan sub-region.

The tribunal was hearing a petition filed by the Legal Aid Committee National Green Tribunal Bar Association against the alarming rate of depletion of NCZs in NCR.

It had sought directions to check alleged diversion of the area marked as NCZ by the NCRPB in the regional plan.

The plea had alleged that states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan had diverted the NCZ area in violation of the original plan while preparing sub-regional plans and such diversion would adversely affect the environment. PTI PKS SA