Draft RP-2041 incomplete, inconsistent: environmentalists

They raise objection to exclusion of terms ‘Aravallis’ and ‘forest areas’ from Natural Conservation Zone

Updated - January 10, 2022 04:57 am IST

Published - January 10, 2022 02:47 am IST - GURUGRAM

A five-member group, comprising a retired Indian Forest Service official, an urban planner and an environment analyst, among others, has offered objections to the Draft Regional Plan-2041. They have expressed apprehensions that the proposed plan would “drastically reduce the forest cover, degrade wildlife habitat, increase air pollution and open the floodgates of indiscriminate real estate in the Aravallis”.

The National Capital Region Planning Board had sought objections and suggestions to the Draft RP-2041 from public till January 7.

Raising a dozen objections to the plan from the perspective of regional land use, conservation and forests, the group has strongly opposed to exclusion of the terms “Aravalli” and “forest areas” from the Natural Conservation Zone (NCZ). “The Aravallis were an integral part of the NCZ in the current Regional Plan-2021. The term ‘Aravallis’ has been deleted from the Draft RP-2041, leaving them open to unlimited real estate construction. Similarly, the phrase “forest areas” has been deleted from the NCZ also. This will drastically reduce the forest cover that is eligible for NCZ zoning protection,” said the group.

The group has also objected to the replacement of the term “Natural Conservation Zone” under RP-2021 with “Natural Zone” in the Draft.

Though the area under forest has declined from 4.02 % as reported in RP-2021 to 3.27% as per Draft RP-2041, the protection for forest has been further diluted in the draft plan.

The RP-2021 limits construction in the NCZ both by purpose (regional recreational activities only) and extent (0.5%), however in the Draft RP-2041 this zoning regulation has been deleted. Strongly raising objection to this, the group members demanded that it should be retained. “It would be crucial to clearly state in RP-2041 that the Mangar Bani and its 500 m is a No construction zone,” said the group.

Arguing that the Draft RP-2041 was “incomplete” and “inconsistent” with the requirements of the NCRPB Act 1985, the group demanded that it must be updated and resent for public comments.

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