Monday, March 26, 2012

News Article: Forest, mining depts differ over demarcation in Aravali

Dhananjay Jha, Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, March 16, 2012

The battle to save the Aravali hills from encroachment has taken a new turn. Although, a developer was perceived to be at fault initially, unclear demarcation of the notified areas has now pitted the forest department against the mining department. On March 12, HT had reported that Uddar Gagan Properties Private Limited (UGPPL), which developed Sun City colony in Sector 54, had extended its development activities to the notified forest area.

After nearly 72 hours, the Gurgaon forest department confirmed the reports and, on Wednesday, issued a challan to the builder to file a reply within 15 days.

However, the builder has maintained that they were levelling land adjoining an acquired plot after getting permission from the mining department for removal of stones and clay. The mining department refused to comment whether the builder's activity exceeded the demarcated area, as alleged by the forest department.

"We have challenged the builder's activity after taking measurements. The mining department doesn't accept it and has demanded fresh demarcation," said Pankaj Goyal, conservator forest, who had sent his staff three times to the site on Monday and Tuesday.

Residents of the area feared the builder's activity was damaging the forest area in the name of development. They had complained to the mining department, forest officials, the vigilance bureau, the deputy commissioner and the police. However, no action was taken assuming the rock cutting was in line with the law since it had the mining department's approval.

The encroached portion is notified as gair mumkin pahari, a portion of the hills where no activity other than forestry can take place as per SC orders.

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