Haryana’s Forest department has said that it has begun receiving satellite images (change of land-use maps) clearly depicting construction closed on the Aravalli Hills in areas falling under Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) 1900. Prepared by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), these images are open to public scrutiny as the department has extended an invitation for those interested in seeing the maps.
The Supreme Court-appointed Centrally Empowered Committee (CEC) is likely to table these images with the apex court during the next dates of hearing, which are March 18, 19 and 20. Earlier too, the CEC had submitted the satellite images of 25 villages in the Aravalli Hills of Faridabad and recommended demolishing structures constructed there. The forest department had dispatched raw drawings of all 58 villages to FSI for preparing change of land-use maps this January.
Finance commissioner and principal secretary (forests) P.K. Gupta said his department had received images of 10 of the 58 villages situated on the Aravalli Hills in Gurgaon. “We hope to get images of all 58 villages by the next date of hearing, when the CEC produces these before the SC,” he said.
The Haryana government had provisioned an expenditure of Rs 1 crore for classifying the type of constructions on Aravalli Hills in the Faridabad and Gurgaon regions through satellite images. The FSI gets the high-resolution remote sensing satellite images from the National Remote Sensing Agency of the Department of Space that uses a Quick Bird satellite of US make.
“Anyone interested in seeing the imageries can visit our Gurgaon office, register their names and go through these coloured images for free,” said forest conservator (south circle) and CEC member R.P. Balwan.