NCR Planning Board to rename Natural Conservation Zone as Natural Zone

New Delhi, Oct 13 (PTI) The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) has decided to rename the Natural Conservation Zone, which comprises forests and wetlands etc., as Natural Zone, senior government officials said on Wednesday.

The officials said that the idea behind the renaming was to make it “simpler to understand” and that it will not pose any kind of threat to these naturally sensitive areas and any development-related activities will be decided by the “law of the land”.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the NCRPB on Tuesday wherein it approved the Draft Regional Plan-2041 for the harmonious development of the NCR region.

“Natural Conservation Zones issue was discussed in detail in the meeting and it was agreed that this be called a ‘Natural Zone’. Development within this shall be protected, conserved, regulated and utilised as per relevant central and state government laws and directions of courts and the NGT,” a senior government official, who was present at the meeting, said on the condition of anonymity.

Mountains, rivers, ponds, wetlands, wastelands and forests fall under the Natural Zone.

The official said that the main aim behind changing the name was to make it “simpler to understand” and to do away with any confusion.

“Now it will be easy to delineate that this is a Natural Zone, forest, etc. The utilisation or conservation of these areas will be decided by the law of the land, which means by laws of the central and state governments, the NGT and the Supreme Court. This makes things much simpler,” the official said.

The DRP-2041 proposes to shrink the NCR to a 100-km radius from Raj Ghat in Delhi.

The NCR is currently spread to around 150-175 km, covering entire districts and their rural areas. But with the approval of the DRP-2041, areas beyond 100 km are not likely to be included as the main part of the NCR, according to officials.

Senior officials privy to the development said that linear corridors will be developed beyond the 100-km radius and up to the existing NCR boundary, paving the way for development in areas within 1 km from expressways, national highways and regional rapid transit system.

“Once the (Draft) Regional Plan-2041 is finally approved, the NCR will be like a circle with bends and bulges that will also have linear corridors like spikes protruding out of a circle. It will ensure the harmonious development of the region,” the official explained.

The official said that the DRP-2041 is a proposal for now and its final version will be notified by the end of March 2022 with the approval of the NCRPB.

It is likely to be kept in the public domain by the end of this month.

The DRP-2041 will also pave the way for a future-ready, slum-free NCR having a 24-hour air ambulance facility and high-speed connectivity through heli-taxis, road, rail and inland waterways.

The draft plan gives special impetus to 30-minute connectivity through superfast trains within major cities of the NCR and also proposes to explore the feasibility of a 30-minute Mass Transit Rail System from the nearest NCR boundaries to Delhi. (PTI)