The National Green Tribunal has directed the Centre and the Delhi government to prevent any encroachment from coming up in the eco-sensitive Central Ridge area near the Birla temple here, where several illegal religious structures have been demolished.
A bench comprising Justice Jawad Rahim and expert member Ranjan Chatterjee asked the Ministry of Urban Development and the Delhi government to keep a strict vigil so that there is no unauthorised occupation of the land in the future.
"At that stage, we would only direct Respondents No 2 (Ministry) and 3 (Delhi govt) to keep an eagle's vigil to ensure that after a passage of time respondent No 6 (Sanatan Dharma Sabha Laxmi Narayan Temple Trust), or for that matter, any other party does not start re-encroaching upon the said area which has been got cleared after a lot of difficulties.
"Care has also to be taken that under no circumstances, this place is misused as a parking lot, which was the situation earlier. The construction debris which is likely to be left behind after the demolition, needs to be removed fully to restore the ridge to its earlier position," the bench said.
The green panel also directed the Delhi Police to ensure that Sanatan Dharma Sabha Laxmi Narayan Temple does not re- occupy this area or some other area unauthorisedly in future.
"It is clearly evident that prevention is better than cure and environment which is the silent spectator is constantly suffering at the hands of parties who encroach and misuse forest land for non-forest purpose and the apathy of the government departments indirectly helps the encroachers," the tribunal said.
Earlier, the Delhi government had told the NGT that it has demolished illegal structures inside 7.5 acres ridge land on January 4.
The structures demolished were "Prachin Mahamai temple along with platforms, four jhuggis and two chabutara". The service road running parallel to Birla Mandir was left as the representative of Land and Development Office contended that this was part of the temple, it said.
The judgement was pronounced on an execution petition filed by city resident K C Bhargava and others seeking implementation of tribunal's March 3, 2015 order directing demolition of the illegal structure.