GURUGRAM: In forest areas of four villages of Faridabad, the Haryana government has started the verification of structures built. Officials in the forest department said they would need four days to verify the status of the land and anyone found to have built the structures illegally would be sent show-cause notices from next week.
Supreme Court order of July 21 states that the land notified under special orders of Section 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1990, should be treated as forest and Provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, would be applicable in these areas.
Some of the villages where land is notified under the PLPA are Ankhir, Mewla, Maharajpur, Anangpur and Lakkarpur. According to forest department’s data, around 850 acres are notified under Section 4 of the PLPA in these four villages. Officials said mostly small farmhouses and boundary walls are built on the land.
Raj Kumar, divisional forest officer of Faridabad said, “We have prepared a list of such properties and started the verification of land documents. We are assessing the status of the land in the four villages where constructions have taken place in forest areas. Once the documents are scanned, the owners of illegal properties would be sent notices from next week,”
Additional chief secretary (forest and wildlife) Vineet Garg said the properties built before October 24, 1980 — when the Forest (Conservation) Act came into effect — would be exempt from demolition if the owners submit evidence.
In keeping with the Supreme Court order, Garg had on September 14 directed the Faridabad district forest officer to “prepare the list of structures, based on satellite image, drone-mapping along with ground report… so as to ensure that no unauthorised structures are left behind.”
The SC judgment — in the Narinder Singh Vs Divesh Bhutani case — was based on appeals filed by property owners against a 2013 NGT order, which had restrained any non-forest activities on PLPA-notified land in Anangpur.
Another appeal that had been clubbed to the petition was against a notice to remove illegal farmhouses and banquet halls on forest lands in Anangpur, Ankhir and Mewla Maharajpur.
PLPA, enacted in 1990 to preserve land from erosion, is currently applicable in 10 districts of Haryana — Panchkula, Ambala, Yamuna Nagar, Nuh, Gurgaon, Palwal, Faridabad, Mahendergarh, Rewari and Bhiwani.
So far, the government has sent show-cause notices to the owners of more than 130 structures built illegally in the Aravalis in Faridabad.