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News: Illegal road on forest land closed near Damdama-23-06-2021


Officials from the forest department said that they found that locals had constructed a road that was more than the approved length on the pretext of repairing a road to a local temple.

Taking action against illegal encroachments in the Aravallis, the Gurugram forest department shut one such route used near Damdama, officials said on Wednesday.

Officials from the forest department said that they found that locals had constructed a road that was more than the approved length on the pretext of repairing a road to a local temple.

“We had learnt from the villagers that they wanted to repair a kachha road leading to a temple in Damdama near Rojkagujar, but when our staff visited the area, they saw that the villagers had formed the road on more than required area, which can be used for illegal mining. The road connects around 12 villages and around four small lanes had also been carved out. But as the work continued for a longer duration, we found it was suspicious. We blocked the road after an inspection by our team,” a forest official from the Sohna forest range said.

Encroachments in the Aravallis of Gurugram and Faridabad have increased in the past two months of Covid-19 induced lockdown. Earlier this month, encroachments were reported at the Aravalli Biodiversity Park near Nathupur village in Gurugram, along with similar incidents being reported from Faridabad. In May, a wall was built across one acre of Aravalli land in Faridabad, in a fresh encroachment attempt. In March, a little over 25 acres of forest land in Ankhir village of Faridabad forest division was also found encroached.

In another incident, reported from Mangar village in Faridabad, locals alleged that four acres of Aravalli land were levelled on Tuesday.

Raj Kumar, the divisional forest officer Faridabad forest division, said, “I learnt from locals that levelling of land was being done with fresh mud dumped on an encroached plot in the Aravallis. We sent a team for inspection to the site on Wednesday and I am waiting for a report from them.”

The land in question is notified under special sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act that extends protection against land-use change to certain specified Aravalli areas, forests and trees.

Sunil Harsana, a resident of Faridabad, said, “This land was encroached upon around 2017 and some or the other work like fencing, dumping of mud is being carried out at regular intervals. Due to the lockdown, it has been easier to encroach Aravalli land and in the latest incident, around four acres have been levelled for further construction.”

After several complaints were made by citizens’ groups over encroachments and illegal mining taking place in the Aravallis, authorities have increased vigil over illegal activities.

On June 1, deputy chief minister Dushyant Chautala had written to all forest and police officials to take action against illegal activities being reported from the Aravallis and submit a report. The deputy chief minister was responding to complaints registered by a Gurugram based citizens’ group, Aravalli Bachao.

Neelam Ahluwalia, of Aravalli Bachao, said, “After the deputy chief minister wrote to all the authorities seeking reports, the officials are more alert as encroachments and illegal mining activities increased a lot during the lockdown. We had been repeatedly writing to all forest and police staff, reporting about such illegal mining activities. The Aravallis need to be saved for the future generations of Delhi-NCR as, otherwise, residents would choke from dust storms while our natural water resources also continue to get affected.”

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