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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

‘Wazirabad land part of Aravalli, can’t be auctioned’

Snehil Sinha, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, September 05, 2014
First Published: 11:02 IST(5/9/2014) | Last Updated: 11:04 IST(5/9/2014)

Haryana high court’s order to scrap the allotment of 350 acre land in Wazirabad to DLF has comes as an opportunity for environmentalists to save the forest area around Gurgaon.

The land allotted to the private developer is located near the Aravalli forest belt.

Environment activists would now raise the pitch for cancellation of the auction for the land, which is to be held in a month. They say the NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) maps show the Wazirabad land as ‘natural conservation zone’ or NCZ.

“Most of the land in the Aravallis, even those that are described as forest by Supreme Court judgments, are already privatised. Instead of making money by illegally auctioning this land again, the state should just protect it as forest. The land is already categorised as natural conservation zone (NCZ) by the NCRPB and should be kept so,” said an environmentalist from Gurgaon.

Earlier this year, the state government had written to the NCRPB regarding the same plot of land in Sectors 42 and 54.

The letter, a copy of which is with HT, called for the removal of the NCZ tag from the land as the state was planning recreation facilities in the area.

The letter was in response to the discrepancy in land use maps of Haryana and the NCRPB.

According to the NCRPB maps, the 350 acre land in Wazirabad and several other such areas were categorised as natural conservation zone (NCZ) but they did not appear in the same category in Haryana government’s maps.

“In 2003, the state government had conceptualised a world-class recreation and leisure project. A part of this project has been shown under the NCZ, which may impede the successful implementation of this project. Accordingly, the designated land use qua this project should be reflected appropriately in the concerned map of the regional plan,” stated the letter.

The Haryana government has been facing allegations of protecting the interest of private realtors who own plots in the eco-fragile Aravalli forest range in and around Gurgaon.

While the plan for the leisure project was drawn in 2003, the regional plan by NCRPB demarcated the area as NCZ in 2005.

Environmentalists in the city are now questioning the motives of the state government in auctioning land that is a part of forest area.

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