100 trees felled in Mangar Bani
NEW DELHI: There is some fresh evidence of around 100 of trees having been cut in and around Mangar Bani in the Aravalis even as the ministry of environment and forest has asked the Haryana chief secretary to identify it and other such areas that are deemed forests.
Green activists who took photographs of the freshly cut tree stumps, which have not yet started sprouting shoots, said that photos show tyre tracks, suggesting a large scale operation. “Only thicker and older trees are targeted for their trunks. The branches are mostly left behind, suggesting this is not subsistence cutting by villagers for firewood, but a commercially oriented operation,” Sarvadaman Oberoi of Mission Gurgaon Development said.
Activists who have been opposing the diversion of a portion of Mangar Bani, a sacred grove, for a mega tourist complex said this development has exposed how government agencies in Haryana have failed to protect areas which fall in restricted zones notified under sections 4 & 5 of Punjab Land Preservation Act. Area covered by these notifications cannot be utilized for any non-forest activity.
A large portion of Aravalis in this region fall in ‘gair mumkin pahar’ or common hilly land category. Green activists said that clearing of trees and removal of vegetation is more prevalent in these portions since there is high speculation of government allowing real estate and related activities.
The issue of non-forest use of forest land in Mangar, Kot and Roz-ka-Gujjar is already pending before National Green Tribunal.
(This report was carried by The Times of India on April 7, 2013)