Aravallis lost over 10,000 acres of green cover in last 8 years: Report

Gurugram: In the last eight years, Gurugram's Arravallis has lost more than 10,000 acres of Natural Conversation Zone (NCZ), which is considered to be the greenest area of the city's forest cover, a recent report submitted to the National Green Tribunal showed.

The report prepared by the South Haryana Forest Department in collaboration with the Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP), submitted to the NGT that from 2012 to 2020, the Aravllis lost 10,211 acres of NCZ.

In 2012, there were 47,481 acres which in 2020 it had been reduced to just 37,270 acres. Taking cognisance of the report, the NGT has constituted a committee of environmental experts to look into the reasons for the loss of green cover. Not only Gurugram but there has also been a substantial reduction of NCZs in other urban centres of Haryana like Faridabad and Rohtak.

According to officials, this report was prepared by measuring the forest area manually. In the past, the loss of green areas of Aravallis in Gurugram has also been recorded through satellite images.

The report comes at a time when the Haryana Government has already passed a law to remove a large part of protected areas of Aravallis in Gurugram and Faridabad. The legislation allows the Haryana Government to use large tracts of forest land, earlier protected, for development purposes.

Owing to a petition filed by green activists, the Supreme Court had stopped the state government from implementing this law.

Reports of illegal mining, tree felling, encroachments continue to come from the Aravallis on a daily basis. Due to a 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 40 cases over the Aravallis in different courts of the country.

It is important to note that the 30-acre Bandhwari landfill site has also been created in the green belt of the Aravallis.

With 3.59 percent, Haryana has one of the lowest forest cover areas in the country. The forests are concentrated in the uncultivable hills of the Aravallis in its southern parts and Shivalik's in the northern parts. Aravalli forests act as green lungs for the National Capital Region, which has some of the most polluted cities in India. The Aravallis are also critical for recharging groundwater which is depleting at the rate of 5 feet per year in Gurugram alone.

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