NGT raps MoEF over delay in NCZ reports

Says Ministry failed to comply with orders, no valid reason provided

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has pulled up the Union Environment Ministry over delay in furnishing details pertaining to whether sub-regional plans prepared by States for the conservation of Natural Conservation Zones (NCZs) are in consonance with the regional plans prepared by the National Capital Region Planning Board.

A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel observed that the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has failed to comply with previous orders of the tribunal and no valid reason has been provided for the same.

‘Not clear on steps taken’

“Only excuse given on behalf of the MoEF by way of an action taken report filed on February 25 is that the response of the Delhi government and Uttar Pradesh government was still awaited. It is not clear as to what steps have been taken in the last seven months for ensuring such response,” the Bench said.

“The MoEF was not expected to be just silent. We, thus, find the response to be not a responsible one and disapprove such attitude,” the Bench said.

The green panel also directed Inspector General of Forests, MoEF, to be present before the tribunal on April 12, failing which coercive action will be initiated.

Noting that some States had not completed the delineation of NCZs, the NGT had in August last directed the Ministry to examine whether the plans prepared by the States are consistent with the regional plans.

Earlier, the National Capital Region Planning Board had submitted before the tribunal that there was shrinkage in NCZs like forests, water bodies and waste lands in Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.

To affect environment

The directions came while the green panel was hearing a plea moved by the Legal Aid Committee of NGT Bar Association against the rate of depletion of NCZ in the NCR area. It had alleged that the States had diverted the NCZ area which would adversely affect the environment.

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