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Green belt of Delhi-NCR is depleting rapidly

Google Oneindia News
Forest cover
The news which will surely set alarm bell ringing among Delhiites. According to a latest report, there has been a continuous decrease in Natural Conservation Zones (NCZ), which comprises forests, water bodies and wasteland in the Delhi and NCR. The reason behind, is rapid urbanisation and unchecked developmental works in surrounding areas. A satellite-based study around Delhi and NCR was done recently which indicated green forest cover was depleting in a rapid manner. According to NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) around 32,769 hectares of green areas and 1,464 hectares of water bodies was lost during 1999-2012.

According to the Times of India report, in Delhi, waterbodies have shrunken by 22.6 per cent, wasteland by 11 per cent and forests by 15 per cent. In NCR, the worst affected district is Gautam Budhh Nagar (55 per cent). Seeing the gravity of the situation, NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) has issued notices to Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan Governments and asked them why they failed on the front.

MoEF had ordered to increase green cover

In the month of April, Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) had shot a letter to NCR Planning Board where it was told that Uttar Pradesh and Haryana must increase its forest cover. The Ministry had suggested Uttar Pradesh to increase green zones by 500 per dent and Haryana by 400 per cent. Ministry had highlighted the point that NCR was faring badly in comparison to national average on the matter of forest covers. While the national average was around 21.05 per cent, in NCR it was only 6.2 per cent.

Reasons being

According to a report, due to unplanned road construction, illegal mining and rapid urbanisation during 2000 to 2012 situation has gone out of hand. These are some of the main reasons which are taking toll on the green cover of these areas.

In Delhi, waterbodies have shrunken by 22.6 per cent, wasteland by 11 per cent a

Another important point is razing the green areas. Dense forest areas are being destroyed rapidly to establish new cities and that has also vitiated the whole problem. Report says, green area portion of Delhi and NCR has come down to 40 per cent in the span of these years while increase in open forest areas has been minimal.

No water in reservoirs

The Central Water Commission in its recent report had said that water storage level in reservoirs of 12 States had declined. In the backdrop of deficient monsoon, States including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka were facing severe water crisis.

"Live storage available in 85 important reservoirs of the country as on July 3 was 36.873 BCM (Billion Cubic Metre) which is 24 per cent of total live storage capacity of these reservoirs. This storage is 83 per cent of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 112 per cent of storage of average of last 10 years", report had said.

Expert's opinion

"It would be disastrous to allow any dilution in the Natural Conservation Zones as it will leads to construction in the environmentally sensitive areas of the Aravallis, river beds and water bodies", an Environmental analyst, said.

Another expert said, "When Rajasthan and Delhi have put substantial portions of the Aravalli areas under sanctuaries, and reserved forests, Haryana is flirting with ecological disaster of the NCR and hasn't protected any Aravalli Natural Conservation Zone areas".

What should be done?

Seeing the gravity of the situation, concerned officials must take note of the situation. Recently, Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari had stated to plant 200 crore trees along the National Highways network across the country. The purpose was to provide green cover and job to unemployed youth both.

"The length of National Highways in the country is one lakh kilometres. I have asked officials to come out with a plan to plant 200 crore trees along these stretches which in turn would create jobs for the unemployed on the one hand and protect the environment on the other," Gadkari said.

It's time we should pull all the socks to protect our green covers. The Government must ensure that plans are well implemented in a time bound manner.

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