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Haryana drops its plan to shift green zones (Feb.)


Times of India, Delhi, Friday 21st February 2014


NEW DELHI: Following opposition from most members of the NCR Planning Board (NCRPB), the Haryana government on Thursday agreed to drop its proposal to do away with some of the nature conservation zones (NCZs) in areas falling under "urbanizable/ notified SEZ" in the National Capital Region (NCR) and to compensate by allocating similar land somewhere else in the region.

After a meeting where planning board members opposed the move, representatives of the Haryana government agreed to delete the proposed changes before submitting the revised plan, sources said.

In its report earlier, TOI had highlighted how the state had proposed a disastrous formula to balance urban development and environment protection.

Some of the officials, who attended the meeting, said the proposal had no basis since an NCZ can't be killed in one area for urbanization and another earmarked somewhere else. NCZs include large portion of Aravalis, riverbeds and areas around major water bodies.

"Most of the participants said the state must not dilute any provision relating to NCZs as it has been laid down in the regional plan," said an official.

A senior Haryana government official said there were about 60-odd suggestions by NCRPB on the state's sub-regional plan. "We have already made about 40 changes. Over a dozen more amendments will be incorporated in the next few days," he said.

The revised plan placed before the Planning Board had a provision giving free hand to the state's town and country planning department to allow any type of land use in rural agriculture zones in "controlled/ development/ regulated areas".

Meanwhile, what is worrying the environmental activists is that the state government has reportedly brought almost two-third of the Aravalis under agriculture and hill zones. "A recent map shows that Haryana has coined new land use terms such as 'land with shrub'. The NCR Board and Haryana government must put the revised maps in public domain so that people can send their suggestions and objections before the sub-regional plan is cleared in a closed room," said environment analyst Chetan Agrawal.

It has been learnt that the Union environment and forest ministry is likely to send its views on the revised regional plan, particularly with regard to the environment and NCZ issues.