The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has formed a committee, to look into the question of whether sub-regional plans for the protection of natural conservation zones (NCZs), were consistent with the regional plan prepared by the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB). A bench headed by NGT chairperson justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said the Ministry of Environment and Forests, will be the nodal agency of the committee and asked the panel to hold its meeting within one month. The committee will comprise the secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests; secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs; chairman, Central Pollution Control Board, National Remote Sensing Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation; and secretaries of the Urban Development Departments of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi.
“Since it is stated on behalf of Haryana that its report will be submitted within one month and the said report may be taken into account, similar reports may also be furnished by the other states. The secretaries of the Urban Development Departments of the states, will be responsible for submitting the sub-regional plans. The matter may thereafter be finalised as far as possible, within three months,” the bench said. It said a final report of the committee might be sent to it on or before December 31, 2018, by e-mail and posted the matter for consideration of the report, on February 11, 2018.
Earlier, in an affidavit filed before the tribunal, the NCRPB had submitted that there was shrinkage in NCZs like forests, water bodies and waste lands in Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. It said that the NCRPB, after perusing the variations shown in an 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 the NCT Delhi and sought response for such shrinkage. According to the NCRPB, the shrinkage of NCZ in Haryana sub region was 25.97 per cent, 15.43 per cent in NCT 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 advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, appearing for Legal Aid Committee National Green Tribunal Bar Association, against the alarming rate of depletion of NCZs in the NCR. It had sought directions to check the alleged diversion of the area marked as NCZ, by the National Capital Region Planning Board 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.