Gurgaon: Over 20 trees were cleared from an area of nearly two acres, which was claimed to be a sacred grove in Faridabad, close to the Mangar Bani early on Monday morning. This area falls under the Aravali Notification of the Ministry of environment and forests and cutting of trees in the area without permission is prohibited.
This is the third time such an incident has happened close to the Mangar police station in the last two months. “Mangar Bani is considered a dense forest patch and one of the last remaining virgin forest areas in Gurgaon. It has to be preserved,” MD Sinha, conservator of forests, Gurgaon , said.
“We have received information about felling of around 20-25 trees in the Mangar area. Our ground staff visited the area and confirmed it,” Sinha added.
These incidents have taken place in violation of strict orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to maintain status quo in Mangar. Even after the forest department lodged complaints, the police have not arrested anyone related to these incidents, officials of the forest department said.
Environment activists said that large numbers of trees were axed to possibly make way for construction activity.
“Even though the area is notified under sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, and tree felling requires permission, still, this is the second incident at the same location. Also, the NGT has ordered not to fragment the forest and such instances lead to fragmentation of forest land,” Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, an environmental activist, said.
The location of this plot, which is within half a kilometre of the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, makes the area even more sensitive.
The forest department will lodge and FIR on Tuesday after taking stock of the of damage , officials said.
Forest officials added that the ground staff were not equipped adequately to tackle such situations. “Neither does our department have a single night patrolling vehicle nor are we equipped to conduct night patrols on foot. Even though funds are available, the administration is not keen about resolving these issues,” Sinha said.
Sinha pointed out that the area was very crucial, as it was one of the oldest mountain ranges with a rich wildlife habitat. The forest also helps in ground water recharge, he said.
However, the forest department is planning to plant sapling in the area where trees were axed.