Even as Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Friday urged people to revive the lost “bani” in every village, the sacred Mangar Bani grove is still not included in the ‘forest’ category and in subregional plan, thus do not enjoy the protected status.
The ‘Bani’ is a block of forest area with dense tree cover. Mangar Bani, which falls within Mangar and Bandhwari villages, is considered the last remaining virgin forest area in Delhi-NCR.
At present, Mangar comes under no-construction zone. However, a notification is needed to protect the area. Also a lot of the Aravalli commons are now under private ownership, giving the owners the right to sell forest land.
In this light, Khattar’s concern over the farmers selling panchayat land and his exhortation to plant more trees rings hollow. His government is yet to convert the forest land that is under private ownership back to forest category.
On Friday, addressing a gathering on the occasion of 67th state van mahotsava in Rewadi district, Khattar said each village should revive the lost “bani” area. He also urged people to take up technological farming methods to save their land.
“Everyone should plant trees during the rainy season and we will open excellence centres for farmers so that they do not need to sell their land,” the CM said.
The theme of the event was “Ban Vridhi and Jal Samridhi” (More forest, more water).
He also announced that forest department will present incentives to those who plant trees extensively.
“That is the only way we can survive in an environment which is free from pollution.This can be achieved by planting a large number of trees,” Khattar said.
Since the Aravallis are important for groundwater recharge and water security, the plan is to protect the forest and help recharge the water table.
The Aravallis include the catchments of Badhkal lake, Surajkund lake, Peacock lake and Dhauj lake and these are vital for recharge of groundwater.
Speaking on the wildlife, Khattar said because of large-scale decline in the number of vultures, cattle carcasses are seen lying in the forest area.
“We are running Jatayu Conservation Programme near Pinjore to protect these endangered species. Every species has a role to play for the environment to function,” he said.