SC panel seeks action against DDA over illegal construction in Delhi Ridge

- May 6, 2024
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Delhi Ridge serves as the green lungs for the city and acts as a buffer against rising pollution levels

The Central Empowered Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, has recommended action against the Delhi Development Authority for unauthorised construction and the cutting down of approximately 750 trees in the ridge area of south Delhi, in defiance of the court’s orders and without approval from the Centre.

In a report presented to the apex court, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) highlighted that in December last year, the DDA allocated land with ridge-like features for building an approach road from the main Chhatarpur road to SAARC University, Central Armed Police Forces Institute of Medical Sciences, and other facilities.

This action contravened the provisions of the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980.

The CEC revealed that 222 trees were cut down in a non-forest area without permission under the Delhi Protection of Trees Act, 1994, for road construction, while 523 trees were felled in areas with “morphological features” without central government approval under the Van (Sanrakshan Evam Samvardhan) Adhiniyam, 1980, and Supreme Court directives.

Following a complaint alleging inaction by local authorities against the illegal road construction due to involvement from the land mafia and senior officers of the Delhi government, the committee launched an investigation.

The Delhi Ridge, an extension of the Aravalli Ranges, spans over 7,777 hectares and includes the Northern Ridge (87 hectares), Central Ridge (864 hectares), South Central Ridge (626 hectares), and Southern Ridge (6,200 hectares).

In 1994, the city government designated the Delhi Ridge as a reserved forest, known as the ‘Notified Ridge Area’. The morphological ridge denotes parts of the ridge area that have ridge-like features but are not officially notified as forests.

Any construction activity in the Delhi Ridge and morphological ridge areas necessitates permission from the Ridge Management Board, overseen by the Delhi chief secretary, and approval from the Supreme Court through the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

The Delhi Ridge plays a crucial role as the city’s green lung, combating rising pollution levels and mitigating the effects of rapid urbanisation, which have posed threats to the ridge forests over the years. (With inputs from PTI)