While the state has started the process to identify ‘ forest’ in Haryana, a group of environmental activists in Gurgaon have written to chief minister ML Khattar asking for clarity on the definition of ‘forest’ and identifying forests accordingly.
The letter, which is in three parts, first outlines the rationale for protecting the Aravalli hills, followed by a proposal for conservation and identifies some key concerns with the Haryana Sub-Regional Plan 2021.
The letter further states that Aravalli hills are important for ecological security of Faridabad, Gurgaon and Delhi as the hills are a natural groundwater recharge zone, providing water with low-electrical conductivity that dilute ‘khara pani’ or salty water of the plains.
The dwindling of forests, the letter states, have lead to the drying of five big catchments lakes namely Surajkund, Peacock Lake, Badhkhal lake, Dhauj lake and Damdama.
“Other reasons given to save forest areas include forest cover in Haryana being only 3- 4%, which is the second lowest in country,” said Chetan Agarwal, an environmental analyst.
Ag arwal added that the Aravallis form desertification barrier, wildlife habitat and have rich biodiversity.
The forest helps in improving air quality and reducing temperature, while also having a potential for nature-based passive tourism.