New Delhi: A section of the Ridge may be compromised for the construction of a section of the Delhi Metro's Aerocity-Tughlakabad corridor under the Phase-4 expansion plan, the reply to an RTI query has revealed.
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act about the permission requests and letters exchanged between the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and the city forest department shows that the DMRC submitted a proposal to the Ridge Management Board in 2019 for the use of forest area for the construction of the Aerocity-Tughlakabad corridor.
According to the document, a total length of 5.55 km of the proposed corridor was falling within the ridge area.
Of the 50,875 square metre of forest land the DMRC had requested for, 8,005 square metre and 42,870 square metre would be allotted for permanent and temporary structures, respectively, the document noted.
A subsequent letter from the DMRC to the forest department in March 2020 revealed that the former introduced a few changes in the initial proposals.
"The Aerocity-Tughlakabad corridor is passing through the ridge area at four locations (instead of three locations submitted earlier)," the letter said.
"Total area required to be used for the construction of stations at Mahipalpur, Kishangarh, IGNOU and Maa Anandmayee Marg is 82,426 sqm. Out of 82,426 sqm, only 14,324 sqm area is required on permanent basis for entry/exit, ancillary building, shaft etc. and 68,102 sqm ridge area on temporary basis during the construction phase of the project, which will be restored back after the completion of the project," it added.
The forest department, however, asked the DMRC in August last year to "identify an equivalent parcel of non-forest land, which can be earmarked for the creation of compensatory afforestation in lieu of the diversion of the first land, as per norms of the Forest Act, 1980".
The 50,875 square metre of forest land the DMRC had requested for includes 20,083 square metre in Mahipalpur (the Ridge area), 16,992 square metre near the Indira Gandhi National Open University (morphological Ridge), 11,600 square metre in Anandmayee Marg (Southern Ridge) and 2,200 square metre of additional area in the Southern Ridge.