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Status report on Aravalli forests to be submitted to Haryana govt

Mapping forest areas under the PLPA has been completed and the report will be submitted to Haryana government

gurgaon Updated: Mar 30, 2017 23:47 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Environmentalists called the exercise an attempt to reduce the state’s forest cover.(HT File Photo)

The process of mapping forest areas falling under purview of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) has been completed and the final report will be submitted to Haryana government on Friday for a final nod.

A committee headed by divisional commissioner of Gurgaon, D Suresh, evaluated the status of Aravalli forest areas in Haryana after the state government had claimed that the available data regarding PLPA was complicated and hence, it is unable to decide which areas fall under forest cover.

“We have completed the process of identifying PLPA areas and will submit the report to the government this week,” said Suresh.

He added that the report will clear the confusion over the status of forests in the state and will eventually help the government to decide on the “yet to be decided natural conservation zone (NCZ)” areas.

The districts involved in this exercise were Gurgaon, Faridabad, Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Mewat, Palwal, Rewari, Mahendergarh, Karnal, Jhajjar, Rohtak and Bhiwani.

“The committee had obtained the relevant revenue records to evaluate and examine the status of the areas. We carried out a two-month long exercise that helped us prepare a report regarding the land use of the forest land in the 1980s,” he added.

About 1,00,000 hectares fall under the Aravallis in south Haryana. More than 25,000 hectares are identified as forest under sections 4 and 5 of PLPA. Around 62,000 hectares have been identified as NCZ, while another 12,800 hectares have been put under the ‘yet to be decided’ category.

However, environmental activists termed the process of mapping the PLPA areas as an exercise to reduce the forest cover in the state.

In January, the Haryana government had submitted an affidavit in the National Green Tribunal stating that the Aravalli plantation areas are not considered as forest. That too was a deliberate attempt to weaken the forest cover in the region, claimed activists.

“The state has very little forest cover and such an exercise will further dilute it. There is no need to evaluate the status of forests and also the methodology of the process is wrong. Revenue records cannot be treated as a parameter to decide forest areas as they were manipulated several times,” said Vivek Kamboj, environmentalist.

First Published: Mar 30, 2017 23:37 IST