Delhi High Court to Inspect Central and Southern Ridge Forest for Afforestation and Tree Felling

Delhi Ridge, which is divided into Northern, Southern, South Central and Central Ridges, serves as the green lungs of the city.
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The Delhi High Court will conduct a physical inspection of the Central and Southern Ridge forests, an extension of the Aravalli range, to assess afforestation efforts and tree felling activities in the area.

Court’s Decision to Inspect

During a recent hearing regarding tree felling in the national capital, Justice Jasmeet Singh noted the conflicting claims from the Delhi government’s Principal Secretary–Department of Environment and Forest and the court-appointed amicus curiae about afforestation and tree felling in the Central and Southern Ridge. Justice Singh stated, “I am of the view that a physical examination with respect to the extent of afforestation and cutting of trees in Central Ridge and Southern Ridge should be done by this court.”

Inspection Schedule

The court has scheduled a physical inspection for July 17. The inspection will include advocate Gautam Narayan, the amicus curiae, along with counsels for the Delhi government, Delhi Development Authority, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the Principal Secretary of Delhi government’s Department of Environment and Forests, and the Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests. They will convene at 11 a.m. in Justice Singh’s chamber before proceeding to the inspection sites.

Detailed Reports Required

By July 15, the amicus curiae is required to submit an advance copy detailing areas where large-scale tree felling is alleged to have occurred. The Delhi government’s counsel must also provide information on areas where significant afforestation has been undertaken. The matter is scheduled for further hearing on July 19.

Previous Court Actions

In December last year, the High Court restrained the Delhi government’s forest department from holding the ‘Walk with Wildlife’ event inside the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in the Southern Ridge. The court cited concerns over the lack of threat analysis for people, animals, and the sanctuary, describing the event as potentially problematic due to unknown animal locations and movements.

In May this year, the High Court emphasized the importance of protecting the Central Ridge, referring to it as “our green heritage.” The court highlighted the necessity of preserving the Ridge forest, especially in light of Delhi’s rising pollution levels, during a hearing on a contempt plea related to tree plantation and the well-being of the Ridge forest.

Conclusion

The upcoming physical inspection by the Delhi High Court underscores the importance of verifying claims about afforestation and tree felling firsthand. This initiative aims to ensure the preservation and protection of Delhi’s green lungs amidst conflicting reports and rising environmental concerns.


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69 thoughts on “Delhi High Court to Inspect Central and Southern Ridge Forest for Afforestation and Tree Felling

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