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Preserving Aravallis: Green activists, MLAs on same page

Preserving Aravallis: Green activists, MLAs on same page
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Gurugram: At three per cent, Haryana has the lowest forest cover in the country. All of it is concentrated around Gurugram and Faridabad in form of Aravallis. Now, the matter of concern is that the Haryana government is trying to move out a substantial portion of Faridabad Aravallis which includes Mangar Bani and some portion of Gurugram Aravallis out of Punjab land preservation act (1900). This would mean that the land can be used for the construction of roads and can be sold to realtors.

Moreover, the state government is planning to amend this historic act in this budget session itself.

Environmentalist's and MLA's have begun protesting against the move.

On Friday, Palwal MLA Karan Singh Dalal on the floor of Haryana Assembly accused that there was bigger money power at play which was resulting in the government trying to finish the lungs of Haryana.

It is important to note that if the government wants it can go ahead in carrying out the development works along the stretch of Aravallis at Faridabad range that spreads around the area of 17,000 acres.

In a written reply to the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB), the Haryana government has recognised only the stretch of Aravallis along the Gurugram and Alwar region as a national conservation zone.

In its defence, officials have highlighted that this was the stated position even in 1992 when the initiative to protect Aravallis was undertaken.

Even as the matter of providing proper definition to Aravallis thus providing it with the status of the forested area remains pending in the Apex court, cases of real estate developments on the green cover area of Aravallis continues to be witnessed in the city. Not only is the lack of proper delineation but dual laws also prevents the forest from conservators to protect the forest area of Aravallis.

The Punjab land conservation act allows twenty-five per cent of the green cover of Aravallis to be defined as forest area depending upon how dense the vegetation is.

"The Aravalli areas notified under PLPA are treated as forests following Supreme Court judgements in 2002 and 2004, reiterated in 2008 and 2009 (MC Mehta case), and again clarified in 2018 (Kant Enclave matter). These notifications are usually renewed on expiry. Gurugram district has 16,930 acres of Aravalli forests notified under PLPA in 38 villages. Of these 36 have expired," stated the save Aravalli trust

"Faridabad district has around 10,445 acres of Aravalli forests in 17 villages – notifications for about half of these have expired. Haryana government has made no move so far to protect the Aravallis by the renewal of these PLPA notifications," the trust further stated.

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