Land reserved for green belt can’t be allowed to be used for raising any construction: NGT

New Delhi, Feb 5: The National Green Tribunal has said that land reserved for green belt, whether of the State or private owners, cannot be allowed to be used for raising any construction.

A bench of Justices Sudhir Agarwal and expert member Dr Nagin Nanda further said maintenance of water body is the prime responsibility of statutory authorities.

The observations came while hearing a plea complaining inaction of statutory authorities in the protection of Laxmi Tal and the nearby area declared as ‘green belt/green park’ in Master Plan 2021 of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

“A land reserved for green belt/park in the Master Plan whether it belongs to State or private owners cannot be allowed to be used for raising any construction, the bench said.

It said such spaces cannot be changed to residential or commercial ones.

“Despite the law of land referred above and the orders passed by Tribunal expressing similar views, we find that approach of concerned authorities is very casual, lackadaisical and non-serious.

“We do not find any element of commitment, sincerity, honest intention and will on the part of authorities in taking effective steps for preservation and protection of green belt/land reserved for the park in Master Plan,” the bench said.

The National Green Tribunal formed a committee comprising officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Department of Agriculture, UP, Department of Forest & Environment and Divisional Commissioner, Jhansi.

The committee shall make a spot inspection, examine relevant records and submit a factual report within two months. CPCB and Divisional Commissioner, Jhansi will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance, the bench said.

“On the next day of the hearing, municipal commissioner, Jhansi; vice-chairman, Jhansi Development Authority; district magistrate, Jhansi; divisional commissioner, Jhansi and additional chief secretary, Urban Development, UP, shall remain present in virtual mode,” the tribunal said. (PTI)