The forest department will file an FIR against 10 people who were trying to set up a mobile phone tower illegally in the Aravallis in Faridabad.
The forest department says inadequate manpower and logistics hampers surveillance in sensitive areas.
The area where people were trying to set up the phone tower is protected under sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab and Haryana Land Preservation Act, 1990. Any kind of non-forest activity is prohibited in the area.
Acting on a tip-off, forest officials reached the spot and tried to seize the tower. However, the people installing the tower carried pistols and they threatened the officials. After a prolonged verbal dual, they removed the tower and left the forest area, a forest official said.
Conservator of forest (Gurgaon circle) M D Sinha said, “If anyone thinks they can get away with such an illegal activity, they are mistaken. We will file an FIR and hope the police will act,” Sinha said.
Highlighting the hurdles to keep a check on encroachments, he said, “We have limited staff to monitor the area and there are no patrolling vehicles. The forest department can prevent such activities only if it is properly equipped. We will ask the deputy commissioner of Faridabad for funds to purchase weapons,” Sinha said.
He said the government will have to improve the infrastructure and logistic of forest department if they really want to protect the forest.
The forest staff has five pistols and five double barrel guns to protect the forest area in Mewat and they are planning to demand similar weapons for Faridabad.
The Faridabad police said they will take action if anything of this sort has happened. “We have not received any complaint as of now but as soon as we receive anything, we will act on it,” Hanif Qureshi, commissioner of police, Faridabad, said.
Attempts to illegally install mobile towers on forest land is not a first in the area. The forest department had seized illegal mobile phone towers in the past.