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News: Gurugram: 250 acres of Aravali land encroached, finds drone survey-06-09-2021


GURUGRAM: A drone survey conducted by the forest department has revealed that violators have encroached on around 250 acres of forest area in the city.

Of this, nearly 225 acres fall under the Punjab Land Conservation Act (PLPA), while 25 acres are in the Aravali plantation area.
This comes after the department analysed the first draft of the drone survey of the Aravali areas in the city. The survey of 7,019 hectares of forest areas in the city was completed on August 27. The department said the final analysis of the survey will take a few more days.

This drone survey began on August 7 in Gurgaon and four teams were deployed with one drone each to carry out the survey. Till now, around 580 show-cause notices have been sent to owners of the illegal structures in the eco-sensitive Aravalis area.

The Supreme Court on July 23 ordered the Haryana government not to spare any illegal structures in the Aravalis, including farmhouses, commercial establishments, and religious structures, during the ongoing demolition drive in Khori village.

“We are already carrying out demolition in forest areas to free them from encroachment. More notices will be sent after getting a final analysis of the report,” said Rajeev Tajyan, divisional forest officer, Gurgaon.

It is estimated that more than 1,000 illegal structures are in Gurgaon’s Aravali areas. These include farmhouses, nurseries, slums and clusters. According to a forest department survey, the illegal structures are concentrated in areas like Gwalpahari, Gairatpur Bas, Sohna, Raisina and Manesar.

As many as 38 villages in Gurgaon and 17 villages in Faridabad have specified lands notified under sections 4 and 5 of the PLPA, primarily in the Aravali common lands. More than half of the Aravalis of these two districts are notified under sections 4 and 5 of the PLPA. It is important to note that these are the only Aravali areas with a ‘forest’ tag. The rest of the Aravalis are not recognised as 'forest' by the state government.

Meanwhile, the officials of the forest department had carried out a demolition drive in Ghata. Around 10 acres of forest land had been encroached upon by the structures in the area, which falls under sections 4 and 5 of the PLPA, 1900. No non-forest activity is permitted in the area.

Last year, a survey was carried out by the forest department to evaluate encroachment in the city’s forest areas. According to the report, there were at least 500 farmhouses built illegally on Aravali land. A detailed list of these structures was submitted to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in the Sonya Ghosh vs state of Haryana case last year. The report also had details of the total area occupied by them and their locations.

Forest minister Kanwal Pal Gujjar had last year said a total of 60 illegal farmhouses were constructed in the Aravalis — 50 in Faridabad and 10 in Gurgaon — between 2000 and 2020.

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