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NCR Planning Board calls meet to talk change in plan (English)

 


A strong stand by the Delhi government and missives from Prime Minister's Office and ministry of environment and forests on the issue of allowing tourism and more construction in nature conservation zones, including Aravalis, has forced NCR Planning Board to hold another round of discussion before such sweeping changes are incorporated in the revised regional plan.

The NCRPB meeting, scheduled for April 12, will also consider the MoEF proposal of earmarking Mangar Bani "permanent sacred forest zone" and allowing no construction in this region. The ministry has also suggested setting up of NCR Aravali Ridge Management Board on the lines of Delhi Ridge Management Board. Once such a body with representatives from all NCR states and non-government organizations comes to existence, the state governments won't have a free hand to dole out any land or clearance for non-forest activities.

Government sources said this is perhaps for the first time that the board will consider objections of the board members even after "approved minutes" of the last meeting were circulated. The last circular had clearly mentioned that the Revised Regional Plan-2021 would be notified as per the approved minutes.

But strong objections of Delhi government and MoEF proved spoiler and the final notification of the revised plan has been put on hold.

The last four letters from Delhi government in February and March bulldozed the board's minutes which claimed that the changes, including the controversial provisions relating to NCZs, were approved. In its missive on March 3, the Delhi government said, "Without confirmation of the minutes of the earlier meeting, it cannot be presumed that the decision has been finalized." Moreover, Delhi government has also recorded that the minutes of the meeting are "not as per discussion".

Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung had objected to the provision to dilute norms relating to NCZs and pushed for more stringent ones. The Board will consider the views of both Delhi and Haryana governments. While Delhi has demanded putting 0.5% restriction on construction and no tourism activities in conservation zones, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, in his letter dated February 18, has claimed that tourism in such areas will help protect the sensitive zones from encroachment.

Backing the Board's minutes, Haryana has even argued that NCZ is not borne out of statute of Centre or state government but is in the nature of self-regulation. Another major flashpoint between Delhi and Haryana governments is the delegation of Board's power to the empowered committee to clear sub-regional plans (SRPs) at a time when Haryana is pushing for early approval of its SRP.

 

 

Times of India, Delhi, Tuesday 8th April 2014