Construction of farmhouses on Aravalli land starts again, says activist

Published on Dec 05, 2021 11:54 PM IST

The matter was brought to light by an environmentalist from Gurugram, who filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in the ongoing Khori Gaon demolition case

 (Sourced)
(Sourced)

Construction of farmhouses has once again started on the Aravallis, three months after the Faridabad authorities demolished illegal structures on the forest land, activists said. The matter was brought to light by an environmentalist from Gurugram, who filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court in the ongoing Khori Gaon demolition case.

In the third week of July, the Supreme Court, while hearing a case about the demolition of Khori village in Faridabad, observed that “the direction to remove all unauthorized structures standing on the forest land applies to all such structures without any exception”.

SS Oberoi, a city-based environmentalist who filed the affidavit in the Supreme Court on Saturday, said, “The Supreme Court had directed the Municipal Corporation of Faridabad to clear unauthorized structures on the forestland. A farmhouse spread across 10-acres in Ankhir village of Faridabad was also demolished also by the civic body pursuant to the orders of the court. However, despite the demolition, construction of the demolished structure has started again. The farmhouse is among the 123 other illegal encroachments listed in the affidavit filed by the forest department of the state of Haryana before the National Green Tribunal in the matter titled Sonya Ghosh vs. State of Haryana & Ors.”

The land in question falls under specific notifications under special Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, which extends protection against land-use change to certain specified areas and forests in the Aravallis.

He further said the place where the farmhouse is being constructed is just a kilometre away from the Asola Bhati Wildlife Sanctuary and acts as a buffer area with wildlife movement in the region. In June this year, a two-year-old female leopard was found dead at the Surajkund-Pali Road, which falls in the same area.

After the apex court issued directions in July, the forest department started taking preparations to raze all illegal structures, including farmhouses, banquet halls and institutes, constructed on forest land. Around 15 farmhouses that were set up illegally in the Aravallis were also demolished.

In Faridabad, officials estimated that around 120-130 illegal structures are currently standing on land notified under Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA).

“We will look into the matter and send a team for inspection at the area on Monday itself. We have demolished 15 illegal structures in the district,” said a senior forest official, who did not wish to be named.

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