New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has rapped the Delhi government for its “casual” approach in demarcation of forest land in the Southern Ridge area here and directed it to complete the exercise within a month.

A bench headed by Justice S P Wangdi said despite assurances by the Revenue Department and the other concerned authorities that the demarcation work would be completed within a prescribed time frame, nothing has been done.

The green panel warned that in case the order was not complied with, disciplinary proceedings would be initiated against concerned officials and a cost of Rs 2 lakh would be paid by each respondent, particularly Revenue Department and Department of Forest, Govt. of NCT Delhi.

It said the NGT’s December 20, 2017 order is “clear and categorical” in directing that the regime prescribed for the process of demarcation was required to be strictly followed in order to avoid “floodgate of claims and counter claims by all concerned parties” having land adjoining the ridge area in the villages of Ranpuri, Rajokri and Githorni in the Vasant Kunj subdivision.

“Upon perusal of the records of the case, we find that there has been absolute casualness on the part of the concerned authorities who have been recalcitrant and, as observed earlier, procrastinating in completing the work entrusted upon them…

“Since, enough time has been taken by the Revenue Department and the other concerned authorities to complete the work, further time sought for is granted with a strict direction that the work shall be completed within the next one month,” the bench said.

The tribunal directed that the first status report of the work be filed within 15 days from February 26 and the final demarcation report should be submitted on March 13.

The NGT had earlier directed the Delhi government to adhere to the time schedule and expeditiously carry out demarcation of the area falling within their limits.

It had said the city government was frustrating the orders of the green panel on one pretext or another and showing “disdainful conduct” in the matter.

The tribunal was hearing a bunch of pleas field by South Delhi resident Sonya Ghosh and others against encroachments on forest land in the Southern Ridge area and seeking their removal.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.