91 hectares of encroached Ridge freed in Delhi: Forest department | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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91 hectares of encroached Ridge freed in Delhi: Forest department

Apr 22, 2024 06:22 AM IST

The department has also sought four weeks to compile the data on the remaining protected forests and Ridge areas

The forest and wildlife department has informed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) that it cleared 91.1 hectares of encroachments in the Southern Ridge — out of the 398.6 hectares of encroached land the agency had identified — according to documents seen by HT.

Delhi has four prominent Ridge areas and the total area under the Ridge as reserved forests is around 7,784 hectares. (AFP)
Delhi has four prominent Ridge areas and the total area under the Ridge as reserved forests is around 7,784 hectares. (AFP)

The department has also sought four weeks to compile the data on the remaining protected forests and Ridge areas, adding that it only has the data on encroachments at the Southern Ridge.

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“It is humbly submitted that the status of encroachments on the remaining Ridge reserve forests and protected forests under the management of the department of forest and wildlife will be submitted to the tribunal after field verification. Further, the department is coordinating with other land-owning agencies and departments to compile encroachment details on the forest land under their possession,” said a submission made by the forest department dated April 18.

Delhi has four prominent Ridge areas and the total area under the Ridge as reserved forests is around 7,784 hectares. The largest

— the Southern Ridge — is spread over 6,200 hectares. The second largest is the central Ridge which is spread over 864 hectares. The South Central Ridge in Mehrauli is spread over an area of 626 hectares and the Northern Ridge is spread over an area of 87 hectares. Additionally, the Nanakpura South Central Ridge is over an area of seven hectares.

The submission was made by the department after NGT took suo-motu cognisance of a news article in January 2024 which cited government data and said that over 7,500 sqkm of recorded forest area — five times the geographical area of Delhi — was currently encroached across the country. Following this, NGT sought data from states and Union territories on the status of encroachment in forest land.

The forest department has been carrying out an anti-encroachment drive in the Southern Ridge since 2019, following an NGT order in 2015.

In a report submitted to the NGT-appointed oversight committee in November last year, the department said that around 84 hectares of the total 398.6 hectares of encroached land in the Southern Ridge had been cleared. In the last six months, around seven more hectares were cleared, the latest data showed.

Data submitted by the forest department showed that encroachments form a part of the Southern Ridge in 19 villages in south Delhi, which includes Tughlakabad, Rajpur Khurd, Chattarpur, Dera Mandi, Jaunapur, Ayanagar, Satbari, Saidulajab, Maidangarhi, Neb Sarai, Asola, Bhatti, Rangpuri, Sahurpur, Devli, Rajokri, Ghitorni, Mahipalpur and Pul Pehladpur.

Out of the 318.5 hectares still under encroachment, the highest, 38.19 hectares, falls in Bhatti village, followed by 38.17 hectares in Asola, adjacent to the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary. The second highest, 37.8 hectares is in Devli, Sangam Vihar.

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