Lack of bulldozers holding up demolition drive in the Aravalis, ET RealEstate

September 8, 2023

GURUGRAM: Demolitions pending since July, the forest department is waiting for bulldozers to be freed of G20 summit duties before officials can ask for the machines and raze illegal farmhouses built over 80 acres of protected Aravali forests in the city.

Notices were issued to the property owners earlier this May after a survey by the department found several farmhouses built on the Aravali Plantation area in 11 villages of Gurgaon.

The demolition drive was to be carried out in July and August. But the bulldozers were rushed to Nuh after communal violence erupted in the district on July 31.

Now, officials said, the machines are being used for G20 summit preparations.

“We are likely to carry out a mass scale demolition drive next month. The drive is on hold because of the unavailability of bulldozers. Earlier, we couldn’t carry out demolition as there were few ground staff in the department in July. In August there was no JCB because of Nuh violence and now, because of G20 arrangements, we are not getting hold of the JCB machines. We have already sent out more than 70 notices to encroachers,” said Karamvir Malik, Gurgaon forest ranger.

The department normally relies on a dozen bulldozers with the DTCP.

The Aravali Plantation project, carried out in the 90s to revive around 33,000 hectares across six districts of Haryana, was notified under the Forest (Conservation) Act after the Supreme Court ordered it to do so in a 2004 ruling.

Haryana has just around 3.6% of its total land categorised as forests -the lowest for any state in India.

According to the survey, there were at least 50 farmhouses built illegally on Aravali land, mostly concentrated in areas like Gwal Pahari, Gairatpur Bas, Sohna, Raisina, Manesar, Shikohpur, Sahrawan, Naurangpur, Sakatpur, Ghata and Behrampur.

had reported on May 12 that 35 acres of Aravali forest area had been cleared for construction of farmhouses off the Golf Course Road Extension in Behrampur village. The forest department had subsequently sent notices to more than a dozen people and had said it will restore the area within a week.

Once the illegal construction is brought down, the forest department will also conduct drone surveys every month to ensure that no further encroachment takes place on the protected land.

Experts said on Tuesday that authorities should ensure continuous monitoring of the Aravalis due to the unusual land ownership pattern, which divides it among panchayats and private owners despite FCA being in place.

  • Published On Sep 8, 2023 at 09:46 AM IST

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