City anchor:Apart from 1748 acres in Nayagaon,the adjoining 710 acres do not come under forest area,say govt notifications
The Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation has lost control over major part of the Nayagaon civic body on the north of Chandigarh,adjacent to the Punjab Civil Secretariat. The state government has formally released 707.7 hectares (1748 acres) in Karoran (442.11 hectares) and Nada (265.59 hectares) from the purview of Forest Acts. Besides,287.59 hectares (710.98 acres) in adjoining Parachh village no more comes under the forest area.
Three separate notifications issued to this effect by Financial Commissioner-cum-Principal Secretary,Department of Forests and Wildlife Preservation,R C Nayyar on August 13 were made available to Newsline on Thursday. Though the state government had on October 18,2006,accorded notified area committee (NAC) status to Kansal-Karoran-Nada cluster in Mohali,with 83 per cent of its total 853 hectares (2,107 acres) listed as forest area under Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA),1900,no development and change of land use was permitted in the forest area.
Locked under the forest area,almost 50,000 residents were left in lurch as legally they were not entitled to power,water connections and ration cards. Also,the area did not see any development as the civic body did not have any power to approve building plans or provide any civic amenities to the inhabitants.
Though PLPA had restricted development within these areas,a survey by the government had shown that several leapfrog developments/constructions had taken place in the three villages. It had also highlighted that unauthorised expansion had consumed 80 per cent of land at Karoran,60 per cent at Kansal and 20 per cent at Nada. These were owned mostly by politicians and senior bureaucrats.
With the remaining 20 per cent area of Karoran,40 per cent of Kansal and 80 per cent of Nada for future regulated planning and development,the state government had on December 2,2008,approved the Nayagaon Master Plan.
The development assumes significance as the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had in an order issued on August 10,2006,given in-principle approval to de-list 707.7 hectares under Nayagaon NAC from the list of forest area. But the state government took four years to issue a formal notification to this effect.
Terming it as victory of the Congress party,former minister Jagmohan Singh Kang said it was the partys constant effort with the support of local residents that the SAD-BJP combine regime was forced to free the area from the purview of draconian law provisions.
We had led a delegation recently to Governor Shivraj Patil who ordered the state government to immediately issue the necessary notification, claimed Kang,who being the area MLA during the previous Congress regime was the main force behind fulfilling the long-pending public demand to accord NAC status to Nayagaon.