NCR board, UP on crash course over eroding greens

The NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) and Uttar Pradesh government seem to be staring at a fresh face-off.

This time the issue is the alarming reduction in the area falling under Natural Conservation Zones (NCZs), which include forest, waterbodies and wasteland.

While the board has raised the issue of up to 44% decline in NCZs in the UP sub-region between 1999 and 2012, the government has now hit back asking why the NCRPB did not raise the issue if it was so concerned, while approving the state’s sub-regional plan.

Sources said the state government has replied to the board with its objections and observations. “After we had submitted the first draft subregional plan, the board had made 85 observations. Once we responded and made modifications, these were reduced to 25.

Before finalizing the plan, the suggestions and observations came down to only four, which we complied with. They should have brought up the NCZ issue before the plan was finalized and notified,“ said a UP government official.

NCRPB sources said the decrease in NCZ was found after the latest satellite images were superimposed on the regional map that was notified in 2005.Out of the five districts in UP sub-region, Gautam Budh Nagar had the worst record with the reduction in NCZ area being 55%.

“All the member states were asked to give details of why they could not protect the areas falling under NCZ, which is crucial for sustainability of the entire region. It highlighted how protecting these areas has been a low priority for states,“ said an urban development ministry official.

He added that the states have been asked to delineate the recorded NCZs. Sources said that so far only Haryana has set up committees to prepare the details and delineate the areas.

A similar process has started in Delhi too, while there is no news of the Rajasthan government taking any step in this direction.

They added Haryana has no option since the sub-regional plan is still facing legal hurdles. NCRPB has already told the Punjab and Haryana high court that it had asked the state government to put the plan on hold until issues relating to green areas were addressed.

According to NCRPB records, between 1999 and 2012, the overall reduction in NCZs in Delhi was around 15.43%.

Source : The Times Of India Date : Saturday, October 04, 2014

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