Image credit: Sunday Guardian

Over the next three months, the forest department will map the entire morphological ridge region of Delhi in order to produce a computerised grid with latitudes and longitudes that may be used to spot potential forest land intrusions.

A morphological ridge is a region with ridge-like characteristics (such as rocky terrain and hills) but is not forest land that has been designated or is protected.

At its most recent meeting on June 28, the Ridge Management Board (RMB) published guidelines for the mapping exercise, and according to authorities with knowledge of the situation, the exercise is anticipated to start next month. The choice was made after the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) raised a question concerning the morphological ridge’s legal integrity and preservation during the discussion. 

To clear up any doubt over whether a building project is located within the morphological ridge region or not, the RMB has requested that the forest department map the area with assistance from the Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Geospatial Delhi Limited (GSDL).

While demarcation exercises have been used in the past to determine the location of the morphological ridge, according to forest officials, the new exercise will involve mapping on three separate levels, each of which will be superimposed on a single map.

The ridge’s green wooded portion will be indicated in the first layer, the ridge’s boundaries will be shown in the second layer, and all buildings and other developments that have been erected within the ridge’s region will be shown in the third layer.

The GSI had included all of Delhi’s barren hills and rocky terrain as a component of the morphological ridge in a letter dated May 28, 2013. Geospatial mapping will be used in the new exercise to display these rocky surfaces and their latitudes and longitudes around the city.

Before the final map is shared with all Delhi landowning and greening authorities, the operation may take longer than a month, or roughly, at least three months.

The description of the Ridge is obvious, and following demarcation, the forest department must make sure that no new development occurs there, according to Vimlendu Jha, an environmental specialist and founder of the NGO Swechha.

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