Green tribunal orders halt on all non-forest activities in the Aravallis in Faridabad
The National Green Tribunal has come to the rescue of forest patches in the Aravallis near Mangar village in the outskirts of Delhi. It has directed the Haryana government to stop all the “non-forest” activities in forest areas of Kot, Mangar and Roz-ka-Gujjar villages in Faridabad district.
The Mangar village has one of the last patches of the Aravalli forests that has native tree species. The patch has been protected by the village residents for centuries as a sacred grove called Mangar Bani. The Haryana government has allowed privatisation of common lands in Mangar and nearby villages which has put the ecosensitive Aravalli forests at risk. It has also planned to develop 10,484 ha around 23 villages in the Aravallis in Faridabad, permitting activities like construction of residential colonies, farmhouses, communication towers, hotels, railway station and airport. Down To Earth has reported how this development plan posed a threat to the Bani and the ecology of the Aravalli hills.
On January 7, taking note of the non-forestry activities going on in these villages, the tribunal had sent notices to the Harvana government and the forest department. In an interim order passed in the matter on January 23, the tribunal said: “The forest areas in all three villages shall be duly protected and maintained and no non-forest activity would be permitted to carry on in those villages.” Noting that “flagrant violation of the law and environment standards and illegal activities are being carried on,” in these villages, the tribunal directed the Haryana Pollution Control Board “to immediately take samples from all these villages and place an air quality and analysis reports before the tribunal, showing the extent of pollution, if any.” The tribunal will hear the matter next on February 7.