To conserve Aravallis, Haryana govt seeks Centre's help
Gurgram: On January 9, the Haryana government decided to take measures to increase the state's forest cover to 20 per cent from the current six per cent.
To achieve this objective, the government has decided to request the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to remove the existing cap of ten per cent for withdrawal of funds for forest management activities and to allow purchasing of land for raising forests.
The decision holds importance for south Haryana areas, led by Gurugram, which have a sizable forest cover in the form of Aravallis.
Moreover, the state, in its formal proposal, had recently announced that it wants to outline the forested areas of Aravallis till Gurugram.
A report by the Wildlife Foundation of India shows that the Aravallis continue to recede in Gurugram, Haryana's richest district.
The report highlights that open forest areas have been reduced to area of meagre 119 square km, most of which is concentrated in Gurugram. In the last six years, six sq km of green cover area has been enhanced in Aravallis.
In the last 16 years, the productivity of Aravallis land has reduced from 5,495 sq km to 5,235 sq km, the report further claims. It also warns that if the trend of deterioration of the Aravallis continues, large parts of it will turn into deserts.
Even though the Aravallis have the highest share – eight per cent – in Gurugram's green cover, rapid urbanisation, illegal encroachments and rapid extinction of natural aquifers are leading to its fast deterioration.
There are as many as 30 cases held up in various courts pertaining to illegal encroachment in Gurugram's Aravallis, in addition to reports of illegal mining still occurring in these forests. Moreover, upcoming realty projects in Gurugram have resulted in a large number of trees being felled in the Aravallis.
Environmental activists, for long, have accused the state government and its machinery of colluding with the mafia and not conserving the natural habitat.
A demand has been made to the central as well as state government to form a special task force to protecte the lungs of the Millennium City, but to no avail.
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