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News: 30-member team to check illegal encroachment of Aravallis-24-06-2021


The forest department constituted a 30-member team to check illegal encroachments in the Aravallis, officials said on Thursday. The team, tasked with monitoring Aravalli forests round-the-clock, comprises forest guards, villagers and members of an existing task force that was formed to protect the Aravallis.

Rajeev Tejyan, the divisional forest officer for Gurugram, said, “Forest staff monitors the Aravallis regularly, but in the past few weeks, complaints of illegal encroachments increased. Recently, we had learnt about an illegal road constructed in Sohna. To reduce such cases, a 30-member team has been formed that will be patrolling the forests round-the-clock and ensure that fresh encroachments don’t come up.”

The forest department has a four-member task force for visiting spots of Aravalli forests based on tip-offs received from locals and citizens. “Along with regular patrolling by forest guards in their respective beats, village locals also help us by giving information from time to time. We send our team to these areas and start the process of stopping the encroachment. It is easier to demolish fresh encroachments before a legal procedure starts, and intensive patrolling will help us with that,” Tejyan said.

In the past two months of lockdown, cases of encroachments in the Aravallis of Gurugram and Faridabad have increased. Last week, the forest department closed an illegal route constructed through the forest near Damdama in the Sohna forest range. Before that, encroachments were reported from near Aravalli Biodiversity Park in Nathupur village of Gurugram earlier this month. In May, a wall was built across one acre of Aravalli land in Faridabad, in a new encroachment attempt. In March, a little over 25 acres of forest land in Ankhir village of Faridabad forest division was also found encroached.

Officials said that it was difficult to stop illegal encroachments at times due to a shortage of staff, but now, the focus will be on areas near the Raisina Aravallis in the Sohna range, from where maximum complaints are being received.

Meanwhile, the Sohna Municipal Council is also taking action against farmhouses constructed illegally. Last week, the authority had sent notices to 15 such farmhouse owners and nine of the structures were demolished on Wednesday.

Sandeep Malik, an executive officer of the Sohna Municipal Council, said, “We had been receiving complaints of fresh encroachments, like the construction of walls, during the lockdown period. After sending notices and studying all the documents of the property owners, nine such structures were demolished. We will be further studying the details of a few more properties and decide a date for demolishing more structures next week.”

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