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CIC seeks report on mapping of Delhi Ridge; chides forest department

The CIC has taken exception to rampant encroachment in the green lung of the national Capital — the ridge area — due to delay in its demarcation and sought a report from forest and revenue departments in this regard.

Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu has directed these departments of Delhi government to submit the report on the action taken against encroachers of the Ridge area. Irked by the laxity of both departments in finalising boundary of the ridge area, he said there may not be malice, but inaction for such a long time is worse than malice.

The case relates to an RTI application filed by Anil Sood who wanted number of details including maps and measurements of encroachments in the Ridge area in the national Capital. Sood had pleaded before the Commission that everyday at least 50 encroachments are coming up on the Ridge land in Delhi and delaying taking up this complaint might lead to over-encroachments. He had claimed that there is an urgent need for information which can stop encroachments forthwith.
During the hearing, forest department officials did not have answers to questions posed by the Information Commissioner.

He said it was highly objectionable attitude of the forest department “to consume months and months to give just one copy of affidavit which they have already had with them”.

The forest department claimed that the demarcation of the ridge has not been authentically done and that issue is before the NGT and also before the Delhi high court. “Their (Forest Department) approach is hyper-technical and red tape based. If a genuine information seeker has to suffer so much of procrastination, how could any common man challenge the encroachments causing deterioration of ridge forest in Delhi.
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