Bulldozers to Raze 800 Illegal Buildings in Aravalis This Week, ET RealEstate

June 24, 2024

<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

GURUGRAM: Demolition drives to remove structures built illegally in the eco-sensitive Aravalis will start in Gurgaon and Faridabad this week. Nealy 800 unauthorised farmhouses, banquet halls, boundary walls and other structures have been identified in Anangpur, Ankhir, Mewla Maharajpur, Berhampur, Raisina, Damdama and other Aravali villages.

Ground truthing an exercise to verify data collected through aerial photography or satellite radar via ground visits of illegal structures was carried out in these villages, as the land here is protected under Section 4 (special orders) of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA).

The Supreme Court on July 21, 2022, ruled that land notified under Section 4 of PLPA should be treated as forests, where provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, would be applicable. Areas in Faridabad’s Anangpur, Ankhir, Lakkarpur, and Mewla Maharajpur villages have land notified under this section.

DC Gurgaon Nishant Kumar Yadav confirmed the demolition drive. “The Sohna sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) has been asked to depute a team from the municipal council and supervise the exercise, which will start next week.”

The Gurgaon and Faridabad district administrations, along with the Haryana forest department, earlier mapped areas where the illegal structures were built. “We have prepared a demolition plan and it will be put into action next week,” a forest official said.

A ground truthing exercise conducted by the state government last Dec found 6,793 unauthorised structures built on protected land in four Faridabad villages, of which 5,948 were in Anangpur village alone. Another 339 such structures were found in Ankhir, 313 in Lakkarpur and 193 in Mewla Maharajpur. Most of these structures are farmhouses and banquet halls.

The 2022 SC judgment, which was given in the Narinder Singh vs Divesh Bhutani case, was based on appeals filed by property owners against a 2013 order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The tribunal had restrained any non-forest activities on PLPA-notified land in Anangpur village. Another appeal that had been clubbed in the case was a petition against a notice to remove illegal farmhouses and banquet halls on forest lands in Anangpur, Ankhir and Mewla Maharajpur.

PLPA, enacted in 1990 to preserve forest land, is currently applicable in 10 districts of Haryana — Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Nuh, Gurgaon, Palwal, Faridabad, Mahendergarh, Rewari and Bhiwani.

After the SC order, the then Haryana additional chief secretary (forest and wildlife) Vineet Garg had on Sept 14 last year issued directions to the Faridabad divisional forest officer to “prepare the list of structures, based on satellite image, drone-mapping along with ground report… so as to ensure that no unauthorised structures are left behind”.

Garg had also said owners of properties built before Oct 24, 1980 — when the Forest (Conservation) Act came into effect — would need to submit evidence of its construction to be exempt from the demolitions. Following this, notices were sent out to the owners in Oct, giving them 15 days’ time to demolish their structures.

  • Published On Jun 24, 2024 at 09:18 AM IST

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