Should construction be allowed in natural conservation zones?
The files related to the revised National Capital region (NCR) plan, obtained through the Right to Information (RTI) Act have revealed that restrictions on construction activity in 'natural conservation zones' have been deleted from the new NCR regional plan.
The proposal to remove the clause in the original regional plan for NCR 2021 that restricted constructions for "regional recreational activities" in natural conservation zones was moved by Haryana government in the 61st meeting of NCR planning Board. If the new plan is notified, though the mandatory clearances will still be required, the restriction that construction will be allowed only on 0.5% of the land will be removed, giving a freer hand to all the four states-Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan- in taking up construction in sensitive zones.
Though the draft plan expresses concerns that green areas in NCR have declined by around 23% since 1999, the amended plan has already been approved by the NCRPB apex committee consisting of the Union urban development minister and the chief ministers of Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The RTI activists allege that the step has been taken to allow a mega tourism complex at the Mangar forest off Gurgaon-Faridabad road. They also opine that the amendment will have serious repercussion on the ecology of the entire region.