The forest department has officially recorded 527 acres across two villages in Haryana as Mangar Bani forest area — the first demarcation of the national capital region’s last remaining virgin forest.
Another 500 meters around this area will be demarcated as a buffer zone where no construction will be allowed. The decision on the buffer zone was taken in June by the state government and NCR Planning Board.
A report demarcating Mangar Bani was prepared in March on the request of the deputy commissioner of Faridabad, but revealed at a meeting of government departments earlier this week.
According to the report, 435 acres of the forest area falls in Mangar village and the remaining 92 acres in Bandhwari village.
Environmentalists have for years been seeking protection of the forest, under threat from real estate developers and urban expansion. But with its geographical boundaries having never been identified, its conservation so far has been left largely to villagers who revere the forest and have banned tree-cutting and grazing.
Making a case for its protection, the report cites the Aravalli range near Mangar, which acts as a corridor for wildlife between the southern Aravallis in Rajasthan and the Delhi Ridge, and houses numerous species of trees and other flora.