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Activists join Manesar locals in fight against land acquisition

Activists said that the land in question is close to key defence installations

gurgaon Updated: Feb 28, 2018 23:27 IST
Dhananjay Jha
Dhananjay Jha
Hindustan Times
Gurgaon,Gurugram news,Manesar
In August 2017, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has asked the Kherki Daula toll operator to shift to Sehrawan.(Parveen Kumar/HT FILE)

A group of social activists and environmentalists have lent their support to Manesar residents in their bid to prevent a vast chunk of land at Sehrawan from being acquired by the Haryana government for setting up a toll plaza.

The activists have already written to defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman seeking her intervention in protecting the land, which serves as a buffer zone between National Highway-48 and area home to key defence installations.

“The Haryana government is in the process of acquiring 65 acres of forest land for setting up a commercial complex and a toll plaza at Sehrawan, which is in proximity to an army camp and other key defence installations,” Vaishali Rana, an environment activist said, adding that there won’t be any buffer zone left for the highly sensitive defence area once the proposed projects are implemented.

“The 65 acres that are in the process of being acquired, also lie close to the National Security Guard’s (NSG’s) Manesar camp,” Vivek Kamboj, founder and director of Hariyali, an NGO, said, claiming that the 65 acres will be used solely for commercial purposes in the name of relocating the Kherki Daula toll plaza to Sehrawan.

Expressing concern over the proximity of the land in question to key defence installations, the activists, in their letter to the defence minister, also cited the closeness of the Sunjuwan army camp in Jammu, which recently came under attack by terrorists from across the border. Five jawans and a civilian lost their lives in the Sunjuwan terror strike.

Ramavtar Yadav, the former panchayat chief of Manesar, said, “The officials and politicians are not only putting the highly sensitive defence installations at risk, but are also allowing 20,000 odd trees in the Aravallis to be chopped. The loss of green cover would also result in the shrinkage of habitat of the local wildlife. However, we are determined not to let that happen.”

Read I Manesar to be new police district of Gurgaon

‘We have roped in a lawyer to file a petition before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and are hopeful that it will be heard soon,” Yadav said, adding that in response to his RTI (Right to Information) queries, the forest and wildlife department said that the land in question is home to unique vegetation and is a habitat for the local wildlife.

In compliance with a directive issued by the Union road transport and highways ministry in August 2017, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has asked the Kherki Daula toll operator to shift to Sehrawan.

“The NHAI needs the land to be free of encumbrances and the same hasn’t been ensured as yet,” a senior NHAI official said.

Gurgaon deputy commissioner (DC) Vinay Pratap Singh said, “I have applied for clearance (for acquisition) from the forest department.”

First Published: Feb 28, 2018 23:27 IST