‘Preserve sanctity of the Master Plan’
There should be equal focus on ecological and infrastructure zones
Not just bird sanctuaries and water outlets, unscrupulous builders and authorities have not spared forest land too. At least one-third of the Mangar Bani forest area located in Faridabad district has been bought by builders. A developer has purchased over 400 acres in the Aravalli hills of Mangar village, an area classified as ‘gair mumkin pahar’ ( It was owned by the village panchayat in the 1960s and transferred in the 1970s to shamlat category of common land, being subsequently privatised in the 1980s. A 2012 judgment by the Supreme Court has said that all shamlat/panchayat lands should be transferred back to the panchayat). The ownership of the land, in that case, is itself questionable, says a realty expert.
The area is classified as scrub forest in the forest cover map of the Forest Survey of India. The Regional Plan 2021 (issued in 2005) defines the area as either a forest or wasteland, directing that all wasteland be planted up to create forests. The target for forests in Haryana is 20% and in the NCR part of Haryana, it is 10%. In each case, if the area is not a forest it should be zoned for expansion of forest as per the regional plan. In case the town and country planning department of the state grants a licence to developers to build in the demarcated zones, investors will have to fend for themselves if there are any challenges to these permissions in the future.
Experts say that the solution is that institutional investors in these companies/ projects should demand ‘good environmental behaviour’ from these real estate firms. They add that discerning institutional finance will not be available for projects which are built in the Natural Conservation Zone (NCZ). However, the Aravalli areas cannot be excluded from the NCZ . This is what has happened in Gurgaon recently. Regarding the Haryana sub-regional plan 2031, Haryana has ignored the directions of the NCRPB and has stated that the Aravalli range within the urbanisable areas (eg within GMUC 2031) will be excluded from the NCZ. Experts say that this is a blatant violation of the current and the revised regional plan 2021.