January 24, 2009 12:46:39 am
Even as owners of properties listed in the report submitted by the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) are crying foul,saying there is no mention of any compensation or rehabilitation in the report; forest officials say no such provision is available for violators.
The report is supported by satellite images of 24 villages,taken between January and May 2008. They show the extent of illegal encroachment in the Aravallis after being superimposed on land revenue maps of areas notified under Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA).The satellite images show a number of colonies,buildings,banquet halls,farmhouses,colleges and ashrams etc,that have been built on forest land in the last 20 years.
Though the CEC has recommended the demolition of these illegal buildings,the rehabilitation of such areas can been taken up by the state government in a time-bound manner. The illegal construction came into purview after the committee recognised the entire Aravalli Hills area of district Faridabad and Gurgaon as a prohibited zone. A forest official said: The Aravallis are actually panchayati land that can neither be sold or purchased,nor transferred. However,revenue documents were forged and panchayati land was converted into community land,which was then purchased by colonisers. He said no official is competent enough to change forest land to non-forest land without seeking permission from the central government under the Forest Conservation Act.
Property owners in places like Kant Enclave,Karmayogi Shelter Pvt Ltd and Lake Wood View are also liable for purchasing property from fraud colonisers for prices much lower than the actual land rates in these districts. Where does one get water or sewage facilities to build homes and building in the hills? a forest official asked,while adding that the forest department had issued notices way back in 1992 in public interest,warning people not to buy land in such prohibited areas.
The official said property owners cant even benefit from Section 4(g) of the PLPA,which allows the building of homes only by local inhabitants.
The Committee report also states the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) erred when it acquired forest land in Sectors 21 CIII,44,45 and 47,and for the Gymkhana Club,a fire station and a police post. These may be considered for regularisation subject to 379 acre of acquired land being notified as reserved forest/protected forest,and a deposit of Rs 45 crore by the state government/HUDA for the Aravalli rehabilitation fund, the report states. It states that such regularisation of HUDA sectors will be permitted only if the state government takes effective steps towards the demolition of buildings in areas notified under sections 4/5 of the PLPA and other forest areas.
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