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Gurgaon activists write to Khattar, MoEF to save the Aravallis

The state government has plans to observe World Day to Combat Desertification on June 17

gurgaon Updated: Jun 16, 2017 23:23 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Aravallis,Ministry of Environment and Forest,Harsh Vardhan
The forest cover of the Aravallis is said to be decreasing fast.(Parveen Kumar/HT File Photo)

Environmentalists wrote to the Haryana government and the Ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on Friday asking them to do more to save the Aravallis that are fast losing green cover. Written by Chetan Agarwal and SS Oberoi, the letter is signed by environmentalists Ameema Sherwani, Vivek Kamboj and Jitender Bhadana.

The move comes as the state government plans to observe World Day to Combat Desertification on Saturday. At the occasion, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar and Union minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan, will be laying out what they claimed will be a roadmap to save the Aravallis, in Bhondsi.

In their letter, the environmentalists said that the Haryana government had assured in 2015 that it will maintain the status quo of the areas falling under the ‘yet to be decided’ natural conservation zone (NCZ), but the reality is quite different. “In the 35th meeting of the MoEF in June 2015, the chief secretary of Haryana had admitted that Haryana has 90,000 acres of confirmed NCZ, while 50,000 acres are still in ‘yet to be decided’ NCZ category,” the letter said. It added that in the same meeting, the state government had assured that the status quo for the ‘yet to be decided’ category would be maintained till a clear definition is obtained.

In the meeting the state government had said that no construction would be allowed in the ‘yet to be decided’ areas till a definition can be arrived it.

“It is shocking to find how the Haryana government has diluted the ‘yet to be decided’ NCZ category. The Haryana forest secretary on April 1 in a letter said that Haryana does not have any areas in the ‘yet to be decided’ NCZ category,” the letter said.

Activists maintained that Haryana should clear the confusion over the definition of forests in the region. However, the state government said it is not aware of the situation. Sunil Gulati, additional chief secretary to the government of Haryana, wildlife and forest department, said, “We will investigate the issue and clear the confusion.”

First Published: Jun 16, 2017 23:12 IST