Over 25 acres of Aravalli land encroached in Faridabad
A little over 25 acres of forest land in Ankhir village of Faridabad’s forest division have been encroached upon, with the construction of a boundary wall and a gate, officials familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Raj Kumar, the divisional forest officer for Faridabad forest division said, “We have learnt from locals that almost 25 acres of forest land have been illegally encroached upon in Ankhir village of the division and we will be investigating the matter.”
The land in question is notified under special sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, which extends protection against land-use change to specified Aravalli patches, forests and trees.
“This is an old issue where construction has been demolished two-three times earlier also and a case was lodged. Damage reports have also been filed in this case. We will once again probe the matter as we have learnt that a gate has been set up and the encroached area is being increased,” Kumar said.
Ankhir is one of the two villages in Faridabad district (the other being Mewla Maharajpur), where over 90% of the village common land is notified under the PLPA. As per previous Supreme Court orders, this accords the land legal “forest” status, with protection under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
Sarvadaman Oberoi, a city-based legal and environment activist, said, “There has been a construction of a new kuccha road, large-scale felling of trees and construction of walls in the Aravalli hills of Ankhir village in Faridabad district. Around five farmhouses covering about 25 acres have been made. The said area presents an encroachment in a hitherto fairly dense forest area and creates a block to the movement of wildlife due to its long length. The area falls in mushtil 19 and 20, as per the revenue record of Ankhir village.”
He said that on the northern front, a 470-metre wall has been built and on the western side, a 230-metre section has been constructed. With internal divisions on the plot, at least three gates are visible through satellite data.