The Haryana government has paved the way for more real estate in the natural conservation zone of the Aravalis, drawing howls of protest from environmentalists who feel this could destroy its already fragile ecosystem.
In a letter to the district administrations and other officials of Gurgaon, Faridabad and other districts, the government said permissions for construction in natural conservation zones before August 12, 2014 would be considered valid. The letter, dated October 16, and issued by the office of the district town planner, further stated the government has decided to do this to avoid litigation.
But environmentalists see this as a backdoor move because the process to demarcate natural conservation zones anew is still on through a method called ground-thruthing.
“Instead of summarily cancelling all licences, Haryana government has chosen to take the side of the builders’ lobby and put its seal of approval on environmental shenanigans of the previous government,” said Chetan Agarwal, a Gurgaon-based environmentalist.
Colonel (retired) S S Oberoi, activist and legal expert, added, “In 2013 and 2014, the government tried to get zoning restrictions on natural conservation zones removed during revision of the Regional Plan 2021, but proposed deletions were reinstated after objections by the Union environment ministry and PMO. When that failed, the ground-truthing exercise was started which initially excluded large chunks of the NCZ.”