200 acres of forest land encroached upon, civic bodies turn a blind eye

  • Ipsita Pati, Hindustan Times, Gurgaon
  • Updated: Jun 17, 2016 23:18 IST
Environmentalists have alleged that local residents have cleared certain areas inside the dense green cover. (HT FILE PHOTO)

The 200-acre green cover near Sikanderpur marble market that was supposed to be converted into a city forest has been heavily encroached upon and the civic authority has turned a blind eye to the issue.

Several environmentalists are now planning to take the matter to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) had agreed to transfer the land to the forest department for the development of a forest almost a year ago in July. This area is opposite to the Aravali Biodiversity Park. However, because of lack of will on the part of the civic body, it has not yet been transformed into a forest.

“Since the land has been vacant for such a long period, locals have started grabbing it. Several incidents of dumping waste and chopping of trees were also observed in the area,” alleged a green activist.

“There are several patches inside the dense green cover where people have cleared the area and none of the government agencies have taken action. We will take the case to the NGT,” said Vivek Kamboj, an environmentalist.

The officials of the forest department say that the area is being maintained by the MCG and they have not transferred the land to the forest yet. “The land should first be wall-fenced and all encroachments should be removed from it before handing it over. We will write to the MCG regarding the issue,” said M D Sinha, conservator of forests.

After the formal transfer takes place, the department will plant the native Aravali species, including those with medicinal values, said a senior official of the forest department.

“We have already planted species like wrightia, tinctoria, krishna kadam and tilkhan to restore the natural ecology of the area,” said Sinha.

When enquired about the matter, a senior official of the MCG said that the civic body is in the process of removing encroachment from various parts of the city and will soon start work near Sikanderpur marble market.

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