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| Last Updated:: 19/12/2016

Entire Aravali may get forest tag













GURGAON: The National Capital Region Planning Board(NCRPB) is going to hold a special meeting on December 20, to discuss and resolve the issues related to finalisation of the definition of 'forest' and what constitutes the 'Aravali hills'. The outcome of the meeting is likely to put an end to debates on areas which comes under Aravali, and may initiate fresh demarcation of the Natural Conservation Zone (NCZ) in the region.


The meeting is being held as follow-up to an earlier meeting on September 16 chaired by the secretary to the Union urban development ministry, where it was decided that the entire Aravalis will be identified and defined as per the Aravali Notification of 1992 issued by Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).


While expanding the areas under notification — it earlier covered only Gurgaon and Alwar — the panel had directed the government to include gair mumkim pahar (uncultivable hillock), bood (rocky and sandy land), rundh (enclosed ground between hills or grassland), rada (rocky land beyond foot hills), behed (ravines) and beed (jungle that government records have not recorded as forest), should all be part of Aravali. "Specific areas are to be included, while identifying or delineating 'Aravali' across the NCR."


The panel had also suggested that a component of the NCZ, including forest, Aravali and groundwater recharging areas, should be governed by various statues, rules, notification of MoEF&CC, other central government ministries and orders of the Supreme Court and high courts, issued over the years.


Aravali hills are present in Gurgaon, Mewat, Faridabad, Rewari, Mahendragarh and Bhiwani districts of Haryana. If NCRPB approves the government's suggestion, it will initiate fresh demarcation of NCZ in these districts, which should lead to significant increase in NCZ areas.



Many areas that were earlier left out of NCZ by the Haryana government on pretext of conducting a ground truthing based on revenue records, has no mention of Aravalis. These will all come under the NCZ. As of now, 51,000 hectares in Haryana have been identified as NCZ, while another 11,500 hectares has been put under yet-to-be-decided. "After NCRPB approval, most such land will get confirmed as NCZ," said a government official.



"Currently, Haryana has kept large areas of the Aravalis outside NCZ, under an arbitrary 'status to be decided' category. All these will have to be put under 'confirmed NCZ' category. Also, areas that meet the NCZ definition, but were left out, should get included," said environmental analyst Chetan Agrawal.



The Haryana government had raised the issue of definition of forest, Aravalis and groundwater recharging areas, in the 36th NCRPB meet in June 2016.



Following this, the board constituted a government panel to discuss the issue and suggest solutions. When the panel met in September, it decided to expand areas under Aravali Notification.







Source: The Times of India