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Encroachments on forest land not a burning issue in Faridabad

Encroachments on forest land not a burning issue in Faridabad

An illegal farmhouse-cum-marriage garden demolished by the Forest Department in the Surajkund area. file photo



Tribune News Service

Bijendra Ahlawat

Faridabad, May 21

Issues connected to alleged encroachments and constructions in the protected forest area of the Aravalli belt in the district have not been discussed by political parties in their campaigns so far.

“As much as six per cent of the protected forest land here has been encroached upon and the authorities concerned have failed to take any action against the violators,” says Sunil Harsana, an activist, associated with the ecology field.

He said the number of illegal farmhouses had risen to over 200 from 140 identified by the Department of Forest and the Municipal Corporation in 2019. More than 1,200 acres covered under the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) was still encroached upon, despite the directions of the Supreme Court for the removal of all illegal or unauthorised constructions.

He alleged that the land mafia had been trying to get the rules diluted under the patronage of influential persons to escape action.

“Construction activities in the area has also resulted in mining of stones from the region which has been posing a threat to the ecology of the sensitive forest zone,” said Vishnu Goel, an activist, based here. He said the failure to curb the menace of encroachments and illegal constructions had damaged the greenery and had led to decline in the overall forest area over the past few decades. Though the Municipal Corporation Faridabad (MCF) had recovered around 150 acres at Khori village located in the Surajkund area by removing an illegal colony in 2021, hundreds of other encroachments continued to exist on the land covered under the PLPA Act, said sources in the district administration.

“With the land in the Aravallis becoming an easy target of the land mafia, the problem of encroachment and illegal occupation of land here is yet to be addressed in a proper manner,” said an official.

Pollution and mining activities, including that of river sand, have failed to find a mention in the campaign perhaps due to vested interests of the politicians who have been directly or indirectly involved in shelving the land mafia,” says AK Gaur, a resident. All types of constructions, including farmhouses, marriage gardens, residential and commercial properties have mushroomed on the land it is claimed.

Sunil Kumar, District Forest Officer (DFO) said the department was working on a strategy to deal with the issue and action was likely to be taken as per the norms.

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