To protect the Aravallis from encroachers, the Natural Conversation Zone (NCZ) in Gurgaon has been significantly increased.
This was stated in a recent report submitted to the state government.
The area comes under the ‘yet to be decided’ category and the foothills or the Bhood area of the Aravallis was significantly increased.
In the report, 4,180 hectares of land has been put under the ‘yet to be decided’ category and 990 hectares has been earmarked as Bhood area compared to the 1,767 hectares of ‘yet to be decided’ and 66 hectares of Bhood area in the earlier report submitted in April this year.
Even the total forest land marked as NCZ in southern Haryana has increased from 20,000 hectares to 50,000 hectares, said a forest official.
Environmentalists have hailed the report that outlines the increased area. However, they said that the conservation of Aravallis should not be carried out in small patches but in full to maintain the ecological balance.
Major natural features identified as environmentally sensitive areas have been demarcated as NCZs in the Regional Plan-2012. These include the Aravalli range in Rajasthan and the sub-regions in Haryana and its extension as the Ridge in NCT-Delhi, forest areas, rivers and tributaries, etc. The NCZ have a stringent zoning requirement that severely limits construction to only 0.5% of the area and that too for regional recreational activities, such as sanctuaries and regional parks.
“The decision to revise the NCZ area was a significant move to protect the Aravallis from getting encroached upon. Earlier, only about 1 lakh acres of the hills were kept under the ‘yet to be decided’ category. However, the four-time increase in the area will boost the restoration work of the forest and save it from any illegal activities,” said MD Sinha, chief conservator of forests (south circle).
Environmentalists welcomed the new report but said that the entire area under the Aravallis should be protected and not just parts of the hills. Environmentalists further said that conserving Bhood areas will help in controlling flooding and control the rapidly diminishing groundwater level in Gurgaon.
Bhood areas are ecologically sensitive and help in maintaining the groundwater level during the non-monsoon period.
“The present Haryana government has taken several stringent steps to save the Aravallis. The increase in the NCZ will help in maintaining the ecological balance and in reducing pollution in the
NCR region. It is commendable that the Boodh area has been increased to 990 hectares from a negligible figure earlier,” said Vivek Kambhoj, an environmentalist.