GURGAON: In a major anti-encroachment drive on Thursday, the district administration demolished eight illegal farmhouses at Raisina village in the Aravalis and cleared around 32 acres of forest land.
Boundary walls of seven farmhouses and pillar fencing of another were demolished during the drive, which was carried out under Section-4 of Aravali notification that says these hills cannot be used for any purpose other than plantation, an official statement said.
District town planner (enforcement) Narender Solanki told TOI that illegal construction activity had been going on behind Keshav Dhaam area and the demolition squad swung into action after getting orders from the deputy commissioner’s office.
“Though the constructed structures (walls) were brought down, we cannot get back the trees that were there and destroyed by the farmhouse owners. But we will take strict action against the violators,” said a forest department official.
When contacted, deputy commissioner T L Satyaprakash said there was a case in the National Green Tribunal, wherein the complainant showed pictures of how green cover was cleared in 2014. “We have started removing the encroachment and then we will assess how much green cover has been lost in the process, Accordingly, we will take action against the offenders,” he said.
However, a farmhouse owner, who did not wish to be named, refuted the allegations of encroachment and illegal construction on forest land. “Forest land can’t be sold. We bought the land. We have documents to prove that the land has been categorized as farmhouse in the revenue records in early 1990s,” he said.
TOI had reported on November 16 last year about the massive deforestation in the Aravali region in Raisina village. A Gurgaon-based NGO Haryali had filed a case before the green court against illegal felling of trees and clearing of green cover in this region, highlighting the TOI report.
This newspaper had reported how huge patches of land were bought by influential people and relatives of senior officials in the Haryana government. These land parcels fall under the gair mumkin pahar (common hill land) where no non-forest activity is allowed.
Dipak K Dash, TNN | Mar 6, 2015, 04.25AM IST