The Hindu: New Delhi: Friday, August 26, 2016.
The Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) has taken exception to rampant encroachments in the green lung of the Capital the Ridge area due to delay in its demarcation and sought a report from the forest and revenue departments in this regard.
The case relates to an RTI application filed by one Anil Sood seeking details of maps and measurements of encroachments in the Ridge area.
Sood had pleaded before the Commission that there were at least 50 cases of encroachment in the area every day. He had claimed that there was an urgent need to stop this practice. Taking note of this, CIC Sridhar Acharyulu directed the two departments to submit a report on the action taken against encroachers.
Forest department officials, however, did not have answers to questions posed by Mr. Acharyulu.
He said it was a 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 had not been authentically done and that the issue was before the National Green Tribunal and the Delhi High Court.
“Their (Forest Department) approach is hyper-technical and red tape-based. If an information seeker has to suffer so much of procrastination, how could any common man challenge the encroachments? How do the so-called conservators postpone the ‘protection’ of forests from encroachers on the excuses of non-authentication or no time to demarcate, etc.? How can they keep quiet after writing a couple of letters to the revenue department?” he asked.
Acharyulu said the RTI Act was meant to challenge this inaction and red tape and the Forest Department had to understand this. -PTI