Activists join villagers to save ridge from concrete, plan stir
Environmentalists and residents of Mahipalpur in South Delhi have decided to wage a joint battle to “save the south-central Aravali ridge and water bodies” from the onslaught of “illegal construction” by various government agencies. Darpan Singh reports.Updated: Feb 08, 2013 02:31 IST
Environmentalists and residents of Mahipalpur in South Delhi have decided to wage a joint battle to “save the south-central Aravali ridge and water bodies” from the onslaught of “illegal construction” by various government agencies.
The protesting groups have alleged that gram sabha (common) land, which should be used only for environment-friendly activities, has been usurped for residential and institutional purposes.
Diwan Singh, Vikram Soni and Anil Sood of Ridge Bachao Andolan said: “The government must let the gram sabha land to be used only as forest. We don’t need monetary compensation.”
Kissan Mahasangh co-convener colonel (retired) Devinder Sehrawat said: “We will hold a meeting on February 10 and decide when and how to launch the protest. Gram seva samiti president Kanwar Singh has extended his support and exhorted all the villagers to fight for this cause.”
They said the ridge was protected under all master plans but the lack of proper demarcation had allowed its encroachment and destruction by the government itself.
A ‘citizens for preservation of quarries and lakes wildernesses’ group has joined hands with the group.
“The 226-hectare bio-diversity park that we see today could well have been a project of 13 5-star international hotels but for a long public movement,” they said.
The park is available to Vasant Kunj and Vasant Vihar residents but not to village residents on whose land it has come up, they said.
Sehrawat said, “The Delhi Development Authority allotted the gram sabha land to a central ministry department in 2010. We confronted DDA over the issue but didn’t get a satisfactory reply. We sent several letters to the LT governor and even met the chief minister but to no avail.”
“Last month, we met the officials of a Supreme Court-appointed monitoring committee and also DDA. Despite assurances, construction has not stopped. While the fact remains that the Delhi high court in a similar case to asked government departments to stop work in a ridge area near Naryana village,” he said.