In gross violation of directives by the environment ministry, the Faridabad town planning department has permitted fencing around a one acre plot in Mangar Bani, part of the ecologically fragile Aravali forests.
Environmentalists say this activity will lead to a rise in soil erosion and fragmentation of forests.
According to a letter dated June 17, the district town planner permitted the construction of a damp-proof course (DPC) and wire fencing for the plot to be used for agricultural purpose. “DPC and fencing can be done for agricultural purpose only. Apart from these two constructions, permission will have to be sought for change in land use. This notice will not be exempted under any policy or rules made by any other department,” stated the letter written in Hindi.
According to the officials at the Faridabad forest department, about 30 trees were also axed to make space for this construction. “The owner can use this land however he wants. But no tree can be cut. We have penalized the owner for cutting about 30 trees in the area,” said Bhoop Singh Yadav, divisional forest officer, Faridabad district.
The plot is located off the road that goes to Mangar village, connected to the Gurgaon-Faridabad road.
The permission violates directives of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) that protect the Faridabad Aravalis deemed forest from real estate pressures, including agricultural zoning, under the Mangar Development Draft Plan 2031.
The fencing work began two days ago. In order to lay the damp-proof course, a foundation has been dug up and stones have been used to make the fence. “The Aravali is a gair mumkin pahar i.e. non-cultivable land. Here agriculture is not possible. Since a foundation has been dug up, it will lead to breaking of soil and its erosion, which is contrary to the Punjab Land Preservation Act 1900. This will also cause fragmentation of the forest thereby hindering the movement of wildlife,” said Col. SS Oberoi, treasurer, Mission Gurgaon Development — a citizen group that aims at balancing environment and development in southern Haryana.