Illegal construction persists in Aravalis near Gurugram
28 Sep 2023 CW Team
Despite Supreme Court and National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders to remove illegal structures in the protected Raisina hills of the Aravalis, ongoing construction activity persists. A recent visit by TOI revealed the construction of new boundary walls, land clearing, and borewell digging. These actions are in violation of the 1992 Aravali Notification, which strictly prohibits construction and tree felling without permission in protected areas.
The area in question is in close proximity to Ansal Aravali Retreat, where illegal construction continues despite multiple NGT rulings. The lack of action by the district administration has allowed for the emergence of new plots, boundary walls, land levelling, and fencing in the Aravalis.
Local residents have reported ongoing construction on approximately five to six plots, along with several borewells being dug and roads being laid. Recent amendments to forest conservation norms have increased land prices, attracting numerous prospective buyers to the area.
Col SS Oberoi (retd), an environmentalist, expressed concern over the encroachment in the Aravalis and the failure of the district administration to take action, despite court orders. In December of the previous year, NGT had instructed the Haryana and Rajasthan governments to establish a monitoring committee to oversee the removal of encroachments and illegal construction in protected Aravali regions in Gurgaon, Faridabad, Nuh, and Alwar.
In 2018, NGT mandated the restoration of all protected Aravalis in Gurgaon and Faridabad. Although the Gurgaon district committee issued show-cause notices to property owners in 2020, areas covered by the Aravali Notification are yet to be restored as forests.
In 2021, the Sohna Municipal Council demolished approximately 30 structures in the region. In 2019, around 195 show-cause notices were issued to farmhouse owners for unauthorised construction in the Aravalis, primarily in the Ansals Aravali Retreat area.