People affected by the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC)’s recommendation to demolish all structures in the Aravalli range say it came as a bolt from the blue.
Developers of farmhouses and residential buildings and owners of commercial establishments claim they got all requisite permissions from the government at every step of developing their structures and thus, they are legal.
The CEC recently recommended demolition of all structures including farmhouses, schools and colleges constructed on Aravalli hills in Faridabad. The CEC is also in the process of identifying such properties in Gurgaon with the help of the satellite imagery and would submit its report to the apex court by March 15.
“The same forest department that had no objections when we were developing farmhouses in 1988-90 is now revoking all permissions. Before developing Aravalli Retreat in Raisina village, we had approached the forest department with exact Khasra numbers of the 1,200 acres we planned to develop. The department gave us in writing this area was outside Section 5 of PLPA and they had no objection,” said Ansals API president N.K. Sehgal.
Ansals API had built 15 farmhouses and sold about 450 farmhouse plots. The Ansals Properties (then) had built infrastructure like water and power with the all approvals from concerned departments, the company said. The buyers of plots not only got their building plans approved by the town and country planning department, they also got them registered in 1993-94.
Capt Govind Kant, a promoter of Faridabad’s Kant Enclave, said they sold about 1,600 plots. “In 1985 we got exemption... to develop Kant Enclave. Its layout plans were passed by the forest department. But in 2004 the Supreme Court banned mining here and the department started raising objections,” he said.
Gurgaon’s Pathways World School also said it came up on 35 acres on Aravalli hills six years ago after getting all requisite clearances.
But R.P. Balwan, Gurgaon’s conservator of forests and CEC member, said the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 was applicable to the land. “All NOCs about constructions... on Aravalli hills by the forest department were unauthorisedly issued by officials and were revoked in 2004. This makes the constructions illegal,” he said.