Lack of law, loopholes aiding real estate players to exploit Aravallis in Gurugram
The flip side of unregulated real estate development in Gurugram has resulted in a gradual decline of the forest cover of the Aravallis.
A major reason why the Aravallis is exploited and continues to be plundered by the real estate sharks in the city is the lack of delineation which prevents Aravallis in Gurugram to be called as the forest area.
Even as the matter of providing proper definition to Aravallis thus providing it the status of 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.
Recently, there was a meeting which was convened by the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCPRB) with an objective to give proper definition to the Aravallis as a forest area.
Not only is there lack of proper delineation but dual laws also prevents the forest conservators 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. The Punjab Land Conservation Act allows 25 per cent of the green cover of Aravallis to be defined as forest area depending upon how dense the vegetation is.
“It is a challenge for us as most of Aravallis in the city is still not defined as forest. This loophole is been used by certain people to change the land use area of the Aravallis from Department of Town and Country Planning and thereby, utilise the green area for developmental activities. The courts and Haryana government are trying to make amendments to this ambiguous legislation,” said M D Sinha Chief Conservator, Forest, Southern Haryana.
A senior officer in the forest department on the condition of anonymity said: “ For long, the Aravallis in the city has been exploited by the corrupt. Earlier, there used to be widespread stone crushing activities which used to happen in the Aravallis which was later curbed as it affected not only the water supply of Gurugram but also parts of Delhi.”
The official added that off late increased activism, state government’s involvement and media reports have prevented the Aravallis from getting exploited further.
“We would have lost a major portion of the green cover of Aravallis around the DLF Phase-5 Wazirabad area had there not been steps taken by the forest department,” the official added.
“Gurugram today is facing a massive shortage of groundwater. Since the Aravallis acts as natural aquifers, the citizens must come together to prevent encroachment and exploitation of the Aravallis in the city,” said Colonel Retired S S Oberoi who is an environmental activist.