The much disputed area of Mangar village witnessed another attempt of land grabbing on Monday afternoon. A trench was levelled with soil and the wire fencing was cut to gain entry to a plot. This area in Faridabad is close to Mangar Bani, a sacred grove that is protected under the land Act.
Forest officials and environmentalists believe this done to take possession of the plot, which falls under the section 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Cutting of trees in the area without permission is prohibited and this is the fifth such incident of land grabbing and tree felling at the same spot in a span of six months.
Even after multiple FIRs being filed by the forest department officials, these incidences are common in the area. This area is 200 metres from the Mangar police station and there is also a forest watch station nearby.
Forest officials said they have filed damage report regarding the recent incident and have also lodged an FIR against land owner Devraj Kamboj on Sunday for breaking the fence and trying to forcefully enter a protected area.
“Around 1am, Kamboj along with 5-6 others tried to claim the land and attempted to turn the plot into a parking lot for cars,” a forest guard said.
The location of this plot, which is within 500 metres of the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary, makes the area even more sensitive.
These incidents have taken place in violation of strict orders from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to maintain status quo in Mangar. Forest official said they have asked the police to look into the matter.
“We have lodged FIR and we will take action against people involved in this matter very soon,” said Hanif Qureshi, commissioner of police, Faridabad.
However, the villagers alleged that police are also involved in these incidences as these cases are increasing and no action has been taken against violators.
Environment activists said a large number of trees was axed in the area in the last six months — possibly to make way for construction activity. They also pointed out that though a police station is located neaby, such incidences keep happening at the plot.