Noting that the Delhi Government was facing difficulties in protecting the Ridge due to multiplicity of authority, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday stressed the need for a unified approach in dealing with the situation.

Speaking at a the National Conference of Environment and Forest Ministers of States at Vigyan Bhawan here, Ms. Dikshit also stressed the need for having dedicated staff for enforcement of Environment Protection Act, 1986, so that the provisions could be enforced properly.

The Chief Minister said her aim was to make Delhi one of the greenest Capitals of the world. She said the Delhi Government was keen to expand the green cover from existing 20 per cent to 30 per cent. Already, she said, the green area has increased from 36 square km in 1998 to over 300 sq. km. now.

Lauding the role of the Eco-Task Force in greening the Ridge area in Bhatti Mines, the Chief Minister said while this appeared to be an impossible task, the Force has made it possible.

“The protection of Ridge area is a challenge in itself. It requires a unified approach as different agencies have been working without any coordination resulting in lukewarm response. The Delhi Government has decided to construct a high wall around the Ridge right from Pusa Road up to Dhaula Kuan to overcome the problem of encroachment and accumulation of debris,’’ she said.

Stating that the design of the wall has been prepared by the New Delhi Municipal Council, she said, it was uniform all over. The wall is being constructed by the Department of Irrigation and Flood Control.

The Chief Minister also informed that nine new city forests would be developed in this financial year and with this the total number of such forests would go up to 41 in 2010.

Ms. Dikshit also called for having special and dedicated staff for implementation of Environment Protection Act, 1986, since at present the basic enforcing agency -- the Delhi police -- has to be requested every time to make staff available for the work.

Since the number of enforcement staff of the Forest Department was inadequate to deal with the needs, Ms. Dikshit said having dedicated staff would go a long way in improving enforcement.

As for the Yamuna, she said, the river covers a distance of 22 km from Wazirabad Barrage to Okhla Barrage in Delhi and cleaning it was essential for reviving the glory of the Capital city.

Stating that the water quality of Yamuna was being monitored at nine locations by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee along with Central Pollution Control Board, she said, the work for laying of interceptors has been awarded to M/s. Engineers India Ltd, that has already submitted a detailed project report and is likely to take up the work from October 2009.

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