Observing that the “extent of forest shown on paper is not the true picture”, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought details of the actual forest area in the capital from the government.
A bench of Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva made the observation after additional principal chief conservator of forests Tarun Coomar told the court that Delhi had a green cover of 20.8 per cent, which was “commendable”. Delhi was the third greenest city in the country, he said.
“What emerges is that the extent of forest shown on paper is not the true picture. We want to know how much (forest) on paper is there in reality. We want to know what you are doing to maintain and increase what you have, since as per the master plan, the forest cover has to be 30 per cent,” the court said.
The bench directed the government to provide geospatial maps of the city showing the forest cover. Coomar said the forest areas were being encroached and it was difficult to evict the encroachers as the boundaries of such land were not demarcated.
Amicus curiae Kailash Vasdev, however, said that according to the government website, any area with more than 40 per cent tree cover was classified as a “forest”. “Colonies and parks with more than 40 per cent green cover can be termed as forest areas,” he added.
During the hearing, the court asked the government whether any wildlife was left in the Ridge. “The city is full of animals, but the forest does not have any,” the court observed.