A piece of land adjacent to the 16th century Old Fort in Delhi has become a bone of contention between the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the Commerce Ministry with both staking claim over the 7.86 acre plot.
The MoEF has now told a Parliamentary panel that it has taken up the matter at the highest level to get back the land “occupied unauthorised” by the latter.
The MoEF has informed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the land of the National Zoological Park (NZP) is occupied unauthorised by the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) since 1972 and it is making an all out effort to reclaim it. The Ministry plans to host the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) at the site which is now being used for parking.
The land was given to the ITPO in connection with India International Trade Fair held in Delhi in 1972 and it was to be released back.
“We are making all efforts to host NMNH in our own building and has therefore taken up the matter at the highest level for getting back the land belonging to the NZP, which is presently being occupied unauthorised by the ITPO,” the MoEF told PAC.
The PAC in its 57th report on performance of MoEF had slammed the Ministry for the poor upkeep of the museum housed in part of the FICCI Building at Barakhamba Road.
The committee had expressed sadness that the museum is defunct and in dilapidated conditions and it would be nothing short of mockery to call it a national museum. The MoEF plans to construct NMNH headquarters at the site once the land is available.
“Once it is materialized, the issue of space and improvement in the activities of NMNH will be resolved and it would become a world class museum,” the MoEF said adding the matter was taken to the Prime Minister’s Office to find an amicable solution.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has also assured the Public Accounts Committee that it is also taking several measures to improve the working of Botanical Survey of India (BSI) during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17).