New Delhi, Jul 20 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal today rapped the Delhi government over “inordinate delay” in demarcation of forest land in the southern ridge area and slapped a fine of Rs two lakh on it.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim said the city government was frustrating the orders of the green panel on one pretext or the other and showing “disdainful conduct” in the matter.
“The proceedings in these cases reflect the manner in which administration of NCT of Delhi is being governed.
“Orders passed by us on previous dates speak out aloud of the modus operandi of all concerned to frustrate the directions of this tribunal… It is regrettable to note that except for taking prevaricate stands on each occasion on the different dates the respondents are displaying clear disdainful conduct in frustrating the order of this tribunal,” it said.
In the circumstances, the bench said, it was compelled to impose a cost of Rs two lakh in the first instance.
It directed that the positive action plan be submitted by July 26 failing which the NGT will be compelled to pass order with the direction that on each day of non-compliance further cost of Rs one lakh will be saddled on the NCT of Delhi.
The tribunal directed the Delhi government to deposit the amount with the Legal Aid Committee of the NGT Bar Association and said it would be utilised only for restoration of the environment.
The order came after the counsel for the AAP government told the bench that that although bids for demarcation were opened, the finance department has disapproved the bid on the ground that the amount is high and the officials plan to take a fresh decision.
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.
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.