Gurgaon: Approval for buffer zone around Asola sanctuary pending for one year
The future of flora and fauna around the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary hangs in uncertainty as the Haryana government has not provided proper documentation for a buffer zonegurgaon Updated: Jan 10, 2017 12:02 IST
The future of flora and fauna around the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary hangs in uncertainty as the Haryana government has not provided proper documentation for a buffer zone.
Owing to continuous tree felling activities near the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary in the Aravallis, activists wrote to the Haryana government on Monday, raising concerns over the proposed eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) that has been pending for approval of the Union ministry of environment, forests (MoEF) for the last one year.
If the proposed buffer zone gets the approval, then it will fall in the protected forest category.
“In April 2016, the state government had sent a proposal for approval and we are still waiting (for the approval).The proposed 100-metre buffer leaves out more than 95% the Aravalli hill areas that are crucial for viability of the Asola Bhatti Sanctuary. We have written to the government requesting a 10-km buffer zone. However nothing has been done yet. Instead, the government has given permission to construct buildings and farmhouse on forest land,” Vivek Kamboj, environmentalist, said.
Kamboj pointed out that though a case regarding land accusation in the Aravallis is being heard in the National Green Tribunal (NGT), construction work is still continuing in forest areas. A buffer zone is an immediate need to protect wildlife and forest, he said.
Activists said more than 1,000 trees have been chopped by violators within a year but the area has not got any protection from the government. “Every month, tree felling incidents are being reported from Gurgaon-Faridabad area. With no Act in place to save the forest, it is increasingly becoming easy for violators to encroach upon forest land,” Jiten Bhadana of Save Aravallis, an NGO, said.
The buffer zone is important as the Aravallis play a crucial role in providing connectivity between Asola in Delhi and Sariska Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan.
The MoEF told HT that there is a delay in giving approval as the proposal from the state government is incomplete.
“The creation of buffer zone requires consent of the two states — Haryana and Delhi . We have completed everything from Delhi but the proposal we got from Haryana is still incomplete. The proposal which we received from Haryana did not have geo-coordinates and a proper map that verifies the area. We are still waiting for a response from Haryana,” Dr Vinod Joon, director, MoEF, said.
On December 21, 2016 MoEF wrote to PP Bhojwad, additional principal chief conservator of forests, asking for the complete proposal.
However, Rambir singh, conservator of wildlife, Gurgaon, said, “We submitted the proposal with the Central government in June 2016. No further information was asked by the MoEF regarding the issue.”
In 2011, MoEF had issued guidelines to all state governments following a Supreme Court order to declare ESZs around their respective forests. In cases in which sensitive corridors and ecologically important patches crucial for landscape linkage have width even beyond 10 km, these should be included in the ESZ, the guidelines say.