LESS THAN a year after the Supreme Court rapped the Haryana government over a law allowing construction in the Aravalli hills and legitimising past constructions, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar Tuesday said they still stand by their position.
In February last year, the Haryana Assembly, despite stiff protest by the Opposition, passed the Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2019.
Addressing a training session for legislators at the Haryana Assembly Tuesday, Khattar said, “A controversy has erupted over the amendment. We still stand by our position on it. It has reached the Supreme Court. Whatever be the result, we should at least make our efforts.” The BJP argued that the amendment to the Act — which would open up the Aravallis to non-forest activity — was needed keeping in view the “changed circumstances”. The party claimed in the absence of an amendment, many constructions would face demolition.
However, the Supreme Court had restrained the state from implementing this, and warned of consequences if “anything” was done to the protected area.
Khattar Tuesday said the changed circumstances had prompted them to bring an amendment in the law. “The PLPA Act was introduced in 1900. There were no roads, rivers and nullahs in the current form that time. The flood water used to flow the sand. To preserve this land from flowing, the Land Preservation Act was introduced so that trees are planted and dams are constructed. Now circumstances have changed, that’s why an amendment in the law was introduced,” he added.
However, environmentalists said the amendment exposed thousands of acres in the Aravallis and its foothills in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts to mining and real estate developers.
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