Th­ese are im­por­tant bat­tles... to save the Aravallis and the Okhlakhla Bird Sanc­tu­ary. On In­de­pen­dence day, Van­dana Ram­nani pro­files cases with po­ten­tial to change the real es­tate game

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They are peo­ple who are just like you and me – who must have scrimped and saved to take on the bur­den of loans to buy their first homes. To­day, tired of a sys­tem that usu­ally does not favour un­der­dogs, they have gone a step ahead of us and taken on the gaunt­let to im­prove things. Their agenda is to have an im­pact on the pub­lic at large and to cre­ate a bet­ter world. We de­serve it, at least after 68 long years of in­de­pen­dence.

Take the case of Lt Col (Retd) Sar­vadaman Oberoi, an RTI and le­gal ac­tivist, who must have sent let­ters and pe­ti­tions to ev­ery per­son who mat­ters in Haryana for two issues clos­est to his heart: pro­tec­tion of the Aravalli hills in Haryana and more clar­ity on the Apart­ment Ownership Act, rights of the own­ers.

The man who of­ten re­peats the sen­tence, “the Aravalli hills must be pro­tected at any cost” is in­volved in a num­ber of law­suits. The gov­ern­ment with­drew its de­ci­sion on the first case re­lated to pre­vent­ing the frag­men­ta­tion of the Aravalli hills, es­pe­cially the two vil­lages of Kot and Roj ka Gu­jar, due to faulty ap­pli­ca­tion of the Con­sol­i­da­tion Act on non-agri- cul­tural Aravalli ar­eas. The other case is re­lated to pri­va­tised Aravalli com­mon­lands in Man­gar vil­lage that at in­clude a large por­rtion of the Man­gar gar Bani sa­cred grove and was filed again­stt real es­tate firms. Thiss mat­ter is sub-ju­dice.

Re­cently, he putut up a web pe­ti­tion to the chief min­is­ter of Haryana, ask­ing him to pro­tect the Aravalli hills. Within a few weeks, the plea at­tracted 5,000 on This, he says, is one of the many ap­proaches to change the tide in favour of the Aravalli hills and the forests of Gur­gaon and Farid­abad. “I am a re­tired per­son and could have done well by sim­ply hang­ing up my boots but I wanted to prove my­self use­ful to the so­ci­ety at large, be­come a game-changer. Even if I don’t live long to reap the ben­e­fits of the work that I have done, I am sure at least my grand­chil­dren will do so in the next three to four decades. At least, fu­ture gen­er­a­tions would be able to en­joy the ben­e­fits of the changes that are fi­nally in­tro­duced,” says Col Oberoi, a self-taught lawyer, who claims that he can be found in court ev­ery sin­gle day, at­tend­ing to one mat­ter or the other.

Col Oberoi has also filed a case re­lat­ing to the Apart­ment Ownership Act in which he has sought to clar­ify the rights of own­ers, and en­force their im­ple­men­ta­tion.


(Top) The Man­gar Bani for­est area and Lt Col (Retd) Sar­vadaman Oberoi (with mike) ad­dress­ing a gath­er­ing of home­buy­ers on the is­sue clos­est to his heart: pro­tec­tion of the Aravalli hills in Haryana. (Bot­tom) The Okhla Bird Sanc­tu­ary in Noida

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