New Ggn-Faridabad route could damage Mangar Bani
Gurugram: Though not yet officially confirmed, the Haryana government plans to build an alternate route to connect Gurugram and Faridabad, which will pass through the green belt of Aravallis.
The report has, however, enraged green bodies in the two cities, which are home to a substantial part of the green cover of Aravallis.
The Aravallis in Faridabad are spread around an area of nearly 17,000 acre. If work for the alternate route is approved, green cover of around 435 acre of this 17,000 acre space would be cleared out.
This 435 acre space, also known as Mangar Bani, is protected under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), according to which 25 per cent of the green cover in Aravallis is defined as forest area, depending on how dense the vegetation is.
However, despite being protected under the PLPA, the Mangar Bani area is prone to continued felling of trees at the hand of the land mafia.
In a written reply to the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB), the Haryana government recognised only the stretch of Aravalli's along the Gurugram and Alwar region as a 'national conservation zone'.
In their defence, state officials claimed that this was the stated position even in 1992, when the initiative to protect Aravallis was undertaken.
Even as the matter of providing a proper definition to the Aravallis – thus providing it with the official status of forested area – is pending in the Supreme Court, development of real estate projects on the green belt continues unabated in Gurugram.
In addition to the lack of proper delineation, dual laws also make it hard for conservation agencies to protect the forest area of Aravallis.
Presently, according to the Indian Forest Act, only four per cent of the area of Aravallis in Gurugram is notified as forest.
Lack of proper delineation has resulted in illegal mining, encroachment and diminishing green cover in both the Faridabad and the Gurugram belt of the Aravallis.
A report by the Wildlife Institute of India revealed that once spread across an area of 6,000 square kilometre, the open forest areas of Aravallis have now reduced to a meagre 119 sq km, most of which is concentrated in Gurugram.