Intrusion in Aravallis: More than 6k illegal structures found in four Faridabad villages

Published on Jan 25, 2023 12:40 AM IST

Supreme Court had in 2022 ordered demolition of unauthorised structures on land protected under special orders issued under section 4 of PLPA

A demolition drive at Khori Gaon village, which came up on Aravalli land in Faridabad. (HT File)
A demolition drive at Khori Gaon village, which came up on Aravalli land in Faridabad. (HT File)
By, Chandigarh

The process of verifying unauthorised structures on Aravallis in four villages of Faridabad district following a Supreme Court order has opened a Pandora’s box. A ground truthing exercise conducted by the Haryana government has found 6,793 unauthorised structures built on land protected under special orders issued under section 4 of Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) in four Faridabad villages.

The Supreme Court (SC) in its July 21, 2022, judgment had held that the land covered by the special orders issued under section 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) have all the protection allowed to forest land within the meaning of section 2 of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and, therefore the state government cannot permit their use for non-forest activities without the prior approval of the Central government with effect from October 25, 1980. The apex court had also ordered that illegal structures on such land should be removed. The SC order pertained to Anangpur, Ankhir, Mewla Maharajpur and Lakkarpur Khori villages of Faridabad.

The Haryana government subsequently carried out an exercise to verify the unauthorised structures with the aid of unmanned aerial vehicles and satellite imagery in these villages. Documents show that the ground truthing of the unauthorized structures in four villages revealed that there were 6,793 unauthorized structures built on 729 locations protected under the special orders of PLPA in the four Faridabad villages.

Anangpur has the maximum violations

As per the ground truthing findings, 5,948 unauthorized structures have been found in village Anangpur alone, while 339 unauthorized structures have been found in Ankhir, 313 in Lakkarpur Khori and 193 in Mewla Maharajpur.

Village Anangpur was once home to the Kant Enclave which was demolished following the Supreme Court orders of September 11, 2018. A total of 42 constructions - 19 plots where the construction was ground floor plus two storeys, eight plots where the construction was ground floor plus one storey and 15 plots where there was either only a boundary wall with perhaps one or two rooms - owned by 33 persons were removed on the apex court’s orders.

A Faridabad official said that notices pointing out the violations of forest laws were served on the owners of the unauthorised structures by the forests department. They were also afforded an opportunity to remove these structures and stop all non-forest activities from their land or submit written representation in response to the notice denying the facts mentioned in the notice.

“The hearings on the replies and objections made by land owners, as directed by the Supreme Court, are still going on. While several structures which were unauthorisedly built on land owned by Municipal Corporation have been demolished, the fate of these 6,793 structures will be decided once the hearings get over. Every structure built on land protected under special orders issued under section 4 of PLPA will be removed,’’ said an official, who did not wish to be named.

The apex court in its July 2022 order had directed the state government that before the action of removal of the illegal structures and action of stopping non-forest activities is taken in respect of the lands covered by the special orders of August 18, 1992 issued under section 4 of PLPA, the competent authority shall afford an opportunity of being heard to the affected persons and conclude such proceedings finally not later than three months from today and submit compliance report in that regard within the same time.

Marriage halls, police establishments, varsity seek regularisation

State officials said 65 entities have also applied for permission from the Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change for diversion of their land on which unauthorised structures have been built. In other words, they are seeking approval for non-forest use of the forest land protected under special orders issued under section 4 of the PLPA. “These 65 entities, including 43, who have applied after the apex court’s July 2022 judgment are seeking regularisation of their unauthorised structures. The applicants included a university, schools, marriage halls, police stations, recreational complexes,’’ documents showed.

GFX

Anangpur – 5948 violations

Ankhir - 339 violations

Lakkarpur- 313 violations

Mewla Maharjpur- 193

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