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MoEF to probe reduction in Aravallis green cover under conservation zone

Gurugram: The officials of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) will probe the reasons for reduction of Aravallis forest preserved under the natural conservation zone. There has been a substantial reduction in the green cover of Aravallis in recent years.

According to official reports, in 2005, the forest cover under NCZ was 19,417 hectares while in 2018, it was reduced to 19,215 hectares. Moreover, there was an uproar after the government moved large portions of the forest out of PLPA. This decision was overturned by the Supreme court.

Owing to the lack of proper definition various public departments of Gurugram are embroiled in a host of litigation cases.

The Gurugram Forest Division is involved in over 30 cases over the Aravallis in the state. Either in form of encroachment or weak laws, a population of more than two lakh people already reside in the Aravllis of Gurugram and Faridabad that was earlier protected in the Punjab land and preservation act (PLPA).

Believed to be residing illegally there is a possibility that they will now be deemed legal as per law. Not only this around 9000 hectares of Aravalli land in Gurugram that has been placed in the category of industrial land will soon be taken for infrastructural purposes.

Protesting vehemently on the new law the environmentalists claim that at a time when Gurugram is struggling to get rid of present inventories the government is selling the prime real estate to builders. One lakh hectare is the total area of Aravallis around Gurugram, Mewat and Faridabad.

One of the oldest forest areas in the world could have proved to be the green lungs for the two largest and most populated cities in Haryana.

Instead of lack of delineation of forested area has resulted in the green belt area being encroached upon and exploited by illegal mining and builders.

Haryana has the dubious distinction of slipping from the second lowest to the state with the lowest forest cover in India in 2018. The state's forest cover is a mere 3.59 per cent, mostly concentrated in the uncultivable hills of the Aravallis in the south and Shiwaliks in the northern parts.

Aravalli forests act as green lungs for the National Capital Region (NCR), which has some of the most polluted cities in India. The Aravallis are also critical for recharging our groundwater which is depleting at the rate of 5 feet per year in Gurugram alone.

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