Expansion of gaushala in Aravallis halted
The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and the Haryana State Pollution Control (HSPCB) have instructed the construction work to expand a gaushala in the Aravallis, near Ghata village, be halted.
Authorities acted on the matter after being alerted to it by a local environmentalist, who pointed out that the area in question is Aravalli land, recorded by the revenue department as ‘gair mumkin pahad’, rendering it a ‘deemed forest’ and a no-construction zone.
Sachin Narwal, assistant environment engineer, HSPCB, said, “We inspected the site and there is a lot of construction waste and solid waste, which have been dumped in the vicinity of the gaushala where construction work is ongoing. We have warned the party concerned and will also be sending a notice to the MCG, asking them to immediately look into the matter, as the land is theirs. If the MCG does not act, then we will take further action against both parties.”
Narwal confirmed that the activities were in violation of the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1981, & Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act 1974, and the C&D Waste Management Rules 2016. Moreover, as the area has a wildlife presence, any non-forestry activity is also against the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
During a visit by an HT team to the spot on Thursday, it was found that a boundary wall is being constructed for the gaushala and a large parcel of adjacent land (about 1 acre in size) was filled with waste. Satellite images also reveal that between 2014 and 2019, at least four new structures have been constructed at the gaushala and it has doubled its occupied area, leading to loss of tree cover as well.
On Wednesday, MCG joint commissioner Hari Om Attri also directed that the construction be halted. On Friday, Attri also deployed an earthmoving machine to remove the waste from the area. “It is a clear case of illegal occupation of MCG land. We will demolish the structures and reclaim the land,” he said.
Vaishali Rana Chandra, the Gurugram-based activist who reported the issue, said, “This is the usual modus operandi of Aravalli encroachers. You build a small structure, or a road, then cut trees, build a boundary wall, and then slowly expand your hold on the land over the years.”
Chandra added that areas recorded as ‘gair mumkin pahad’, in accordance with the NCRPB’s NCZ guidelines (as mentioned in NCR Regional Plan 2021), do not permit non-forestry activity to be carried out. “These areas, being on the foothills, are much more accessible to encroachers,” she said.