Environmentalists move NCR board

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Oppose removal of Mangar Bani land from forest category
Sumedha Sharma
Tribune News Service

Gurgaon, February 2
The Haryana Government’s ambitious plan to utilise Mangar Bani land for eco-tourism has come under the scanner with city environmentalists yet again moving the National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) against the land being removed from the category of forest area.

They oppose the change in the provision of 0.5 per cent limit on construction, except with the approval of the Competent Forest and Environment Authority of the state in the Aravalli, the Yamuna riverbed and other ecologically sensitive areas.

They have asked the authorities to review the decision reportedly made on the proposal of the Haryana Government in January.

The environmentalists said the change would give a free hand to builders who have already bought land there to construct a concrete jungle. This would endanger the ecology of the area and affect the ground water recharge.

“This is one of the last forest patches we are left with and Gurgaon has no where to go except the Aravallis for it water needs. The change of the provision would open many floodgates for increasing construction in this eco-sensitive and natural conservative zone. Builders who seemed confident of the amendment had already bought acres of land there and will now have a free hand to do anything they want. The government, in a bid to benefit builders, are playing with our future and lives,” said SP Gupta, former IAS officer and an expert on urban development, planning and environment.

Objections have also been raised on the clearance of the land pooling policy by the DDA. Earlier, the minimum requirement was 20 hectares, now it has been reduces to 2 hectares. Under the policy, about 70,000 acres in 200 villages will be urbanised.

The Mangar forest is one of the last patches of the natural Aravalli forests. With its native tree species, the area has been protected by the villagers for centuries as a sacred grove.

It is also a habitat to several wildlife species and acts as a ground water recharge zone in the denuded Aravalli hills.

  

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