Illegal farmhouses sprout in Aravalis

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NEW DELHI: Around two dozen farmhouses have come up illegally in the Aravalis without prior government approval while hospitality and adventure companies have built tourist facilities including swimming pools in the restricted zone, particularly in Roz Ka Gujjar adjoining Damdama lake.

After conducting surveys of the violations in areas falling under the Aravalis in Gurgaon and Mewat districts, Haryana State Pollution Control Board has filed an affidavit before National Green Tribunal mentioning the irregularities and violations of norms. These include construction of rooms, palatial complexes, digging of tube wells and building of boundary walls.

The violators includes top urban planners, industrialists, entrepreneurs, businessmen, NRIs, celebrities, retired defence officers. Majority of them are from Delhi.

While some violations are major in nature such as construction of farmhouse, in most cases, property owners have gone for construction of additional rooms, boundary walls and concrete roads.

As per Aravali notification of May 1992 issued by the ministry of environment and forests, certain activities are restricted in specified Aravali ranges, which cause environmental degradation. It said activities like cutting of trees, construction of dwelling units, farmhouses and sheds must get prior approval of the central government. Restricted zones include all forests, common hills, water bodies.

After the NGT took up the case of green violations suo motu based on a TOI report, the HSPCB constituted five teams to conduct surveys. The teams conducted detailed surveys along with representatives of revenue department to identify violations in areas including Raisina, Aravali Retreat, Golden Height and Roz Ka Gujjar, where most of the farmhouses are located.

The teams found 310 violations of the notification in which cases have already been filed in the special environment court. The survey teams also reported that most violators had made repeat violations by carrying out construction after cases were filed against them. The teams also identified 103 fresh violations.


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