The Haryana forest department has formed a three-member team to remove large-scale illegal encroachments from forest areas.
During an inspection by the department on Friday, it was found that more than 800 acres have been encroached upon between Gurgaon and Nuh district in south Haryana.
“We have found violations in forest land following which a guard and a block officer has been suspended. We are taking steps to curb the illegal encroachments in the area. A three-member team has been formed to investigate the issue and remove encroachments from the area,” MD Sinha, conservator of forest, south Haryana, said.
The exercise will be a joint action by the public works department (PWD) and forest officials. “The divisional forest officers of Gurgaon and Nuh were asked to submit a report regarding the status of encroachments to the department within a week .
“We have around 9,500 acres of forest area in six districts of south Haryana. It is 0.5% of the geographical area of the six districts. We need to ensure protection of the Aravallis that provide green cover for the region,” Sinha said. Fresh encroachments in the forest area were reported last week too, the forest department said.
The violations were reported from the protected zone of the forest which is notified under the Section 4 & 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA). Non-forest activities are banned in areas that are under the purview of the PLPA.
Last month, the department had suspended a guard for his alleged involvement in a tree felling incident in Sector 111, Gurgaon. An attempt to encroach upon the forest area in Raisina, 15 kilometres from the city, was also reported.