A week after Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that a piece of land should remain under the forest category only as long as there are adequate trees on that land, as many as 3,000 saplings were uprooted from an area of seven acres in Mohbtabad region of Faridabad district on Sunday.
The forest department said that it is a deliberate attempt to free the area of tree cover.
The area comes under the Aravallis where any kind of construction is not permitted. The forest department has filed a complaint and the police have registered an FIR against unknown person in this incident.
“Around 3,000 saplings were uprooted and 2,000 new saplings were destroyed by some unidentified people,” divisional forest officer, Faridabad, said.
The department is planning to increase surveillance in the region as the area has a history of tree felling and encroachments.
Environmentalists say the CM’s statement has created a negative impact on the Aravallis. Going by what the CM said, if no trees are left on a piece of land that is in the forest category after a few years for any reason, then files related to the land should be with the original department and not with the forest department. “This has created a false picture in the state and has given a wrong message to the masses. People have started cutting trees to clear land for commercial purposes,” Vivek Kamboj, an environmentalist said.
However, an official of the forest department said that forest land will remain in the forest category even if there are no trees on that piece of land. “The seven acres of land from which saplings were uprooted comes under forest category. We will do extensive planting in the area,” MD Sinha, conservator of forest, south Haryana circle said.