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News: 10 illegal structures in Raisina hills razed-24-06-2021


Gurgaon: A team from the Municipal Council of Sohna razed 10 illegally built structures in Raisina’s Ansals Aravali Retreat on Wednesday. This is the third demolition drive in the area this year.
The move comes after the National Green Tribunal (NGT), in October last year, directed the Haryana government to restore forest in the Raisina hills of the Aravalis by January 31. Over 400 farmhouses are located in the Raisina area where Wednesday’s demolition drive was carried out.
“We demolished 10 structures today. There have been several violations in the area in the last few months. We will carry out demolitions next week as well,” said Sandeep Malik, executive officer, Municipal Council of Sohna. “We are removing newly-constructed structures first,” he added.


Asked why they are taking too long to implement the NGT order, he said: "The pace is slow because of Covid-19, but we are in the process of restoring the forest land.”

The first demolition drive in the area was carried out on February 8, when 15 structures were razed. On March 20, another seven structures were flattened.


Demolition notices were issued in June 2019 after a survey was conducted in the area. A total of 195 show-cause notices were issued to farmhouses for unauthorised construction in Aravalis, most of which are in Ansals Aravali Retreat.

Acting on the directions of NGT, the Gurgaon administration had in June last year has replaced the term ‘gair mumkin farmhouse’, which had found its way into the revenue records and helped farmhouse owners skirt provisions of the Aravali Notification that came into force in 1992, with the original term, ‘gair mumkin pahad’ (uncultivable hill).

Under the Union environment ministry’s Aravali Notification, ‘gair mumkin pahad’ is protected land where construction of buildings, roads, electrification and cutting of trees is not permitted.

Meanwhile, farmhouse owners in the Retreat said the matter is in court and they purchased the land from private owners. It was never part of any kind of forest area and is not notified under The Punjab Land Preservation Act, they claimed.

“We have been living in the area for the last 15 years. We have already filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana high court as the Aravali Retreat project is not covered under Aravali Notification. We have legal rights as we have bought the land lawfully,” said Rajesh Vats, a farmhouse owner.

Environmentalists, meanwhile, said such drives are required to ensure that the area is again restored as forest. “It’s been more than 10 months since the NGT order and the administration is too slow in carrying out demolitions. This shows how concerned the administration is about the environment and forest in Gurgaon,” said Col S S Oberoi (retd), an environmentalist.

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