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GURGAON-Razed two weeks ago, illegal walls come up in Aravalis again

March 21, 2019 07:02 AM


Razed two weeks ago, illegal walls come up in Aravalis again


Illegal walls, nearly 200 metres long each, have been constructed on two sides of a piece of land protected under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900 in Mewla village of Faridabad.

This comes close on the heels of a complaint recently filed against another illegal structure in Mewla Maharajpur on land falling under the PLPA. The FIR, which had been seen as a significant step to save the green cover of the Aravalis, does not seem to have acted as a deterrent.

During a spot check, TOI discovered that the walls being put up are for a banquet hall. The walls have been constructed on both sides of the four-acre land and a gate has been erected at the front on Pali Road. Locals said the construction has been going on for the last one month. “Every night, one could see lorries coming in and labourers building the wall. Within a few days, construction of the wall on two sides was completed. Now only one side is left and it will be covered soon by the land mafia,” said a villager, requesting anonymity.

The forest department, which had demolished a wall at the same spot about two weeks ago, has assured strict action. “A team from our department had demolished a wall in the same area recently. We need to check if it is being made by the same people. Strict action will be taken against the owner as any kind of construction protected under PLPA (Sections 4 and 5) is an offence,” said a forest official, not wishing to be named. Local residents said the authorities need to do more to keep the land mafia in check.

“It is unfortunate that illegal constructions continue despite the department’s strict action in some cases and demolition of a wall in the same area. Demolitions are just cosmetic — only a small part of the wall was demolished. Actions that are cosmetic in nature make land mafia more confident and they continue to carry out illegal construction,” said Sunil Hasrana, a resident of Mangar and an environmental activist.

Of 27,304 hectares of Aravali land in Gurgaon and Faridabad, 20,345 hectares are notified under the PLPA.

The Haryana government had on February 27 passed a controversial bill to amend the PLPA, taking away the protection to the forest cover in Aravali and exposing nearly 28,000 acres of land in Gurgaon and Faridabad to private builders and land sharks.

On March 1, the Supreme Court had stayed the decision, calling the government’s action “obnoxious and contemptuous

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