2012.01.12 mission gurgaon development (mgd) letter to dgtcp haryana

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2012.01.12 mission gurgaon development (mgd) letter to dgtcp haryana

  1. 1. mission® Reg No: DR/GGN/291 of 2010-11 GURGAON A people’s movement for good governance DEVELOPMENT To, Shri T C Gupta Director General-cum-Special Secretary, Town & Country Planning and Urban Estates Department Haryana Chandigarh Fax: 0172-2548475 January 12, 2012 Subject: Need to conserve Aravalli hills in Southern Haryana, and especially Faridabad district for drinking water security and other ecosystem services. Sir, We are citizens of the NCR concerned about the ecology of the Aravalli hills and the drinking water security of Delhi as well as Gurgaon, Faridabad, which have substantial dependence on groundwater. In fact, Faridabad is almost 100% dependent on ground water. We write as we are concerned at the risk posed by the Draft Development Plan (DDP) Mangar 2031, for the drinking water security of Faridabad and Gurgaon. As you are aware the Haryana Government has issued a notification dated 08.01.2011 empowering your office of the Director General, Town and Country Planning Department to exercise and perform all powers and functions of Director under the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act,1975, Punjab Scheduled Roads and Controlled Areas Restriction and Unregulated Development Act, 1963, Haryana Apartment Ownership Act,1983 and Punjab New Capital (Periphery) Control Act,1952 and rules framed there under. This place a great responsibility upon you in respect to environmental concerns of planning and development, land use etc with respect to Gurgaon and Faridabad Districts which have been highlighted by the Apex Court recently. The Aravalli hills (classified as gair mumkin pahar in revenue records) : (1) are identified as a recharge zone for groundwater by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) in its reports to the Honourable Supreme Court (2) where the groundwater is to the tune of 20,00,000 litres per hectare per year which is worth Rs 2 lakh per year and has a Net Present Value of upto Rs 2 crores per hectare. (3) are zoned as a natural conservation area in the Regional Plan 2021 prepared by the NCRPB, which Haryana is mandated to follow. (4) are a deemed forest area under the Forest Conservation Act (5) are the subject matter of banning of “mining activity and pumping of groundwater”, and mining rehabilitation under WRIT PETITION Civil No. 4677 OF 1985 (6) and include the catchment of Dhauj lake which is critical for recharge of groundwater for downstream city and village areas as well as the Dhauj crusher zone. 543 Sector 23, Gurgaon; Tel: 9312404269, 9818768349, 9871628217; E-mail: missiongurgaondevelopment@gmail.com Governing Council: Vinay Shankar, Patron, Former Secretary, Govt of India Devinder Chopra, Patron, UN retiree Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM, President, Vice Chairman IESM Dr Nalini Bhargava, Vice President, Educationist Dr Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, General Secretary, Development professional Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, Treasurer, RTI activist        Vakul Cowshik, Member, Social worker www.missiongurgaondevelopment.org
  2. 2. mission® Reg No: DR/GGN/291 of 2010-11 GURGAON A people’s movement for good governance DEVELOPMENT Accordingly, the Aravalli hills (classified as gair mumkin pahar in revenue records) should therefore be zoned as a water recharge and forest conservation zone where no construction is allowed and the same has been categorically held by the Apex Court in Apex Court Order dated 06.07.2011 in WRIT PETITION Civil No. 202 OF 1995 T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India. Such a zoning for their water recharge role is critical for the future existence of Faridabad and Gurgaon as well as protecting the last remaining wilderness and forest zone. As you may be aware that most of the Aravalli hills in Faridabad District have been privatized and are currently owned by private parties big and small. Newspaper reports and other enquiries indicate that these have included Baba Ramdev, politicians, journalists, bureaucrats as well as real estate and business interests. Opening the Aravalli hills for real estate will not only be a glaring violation of the Forest Conservation Act, and various other Supreme Court Judgements, but will also throw the spotlight on which persons actually own the Aravalli hills and will benefit from real estate zoning, thus causing them un-necessary embarrassment. The facts are as follows: 1. The Aravalli hills are the perhaps the oldest mountain systems in the world, nine times older than the Himalayas and unlike the Himalayas they are very stable and strong. 2. Running north to south, they perform an important function in protecting the NCR region from the march of the desert – hot winds and sand. An article datelined 24.01.2009 notes, “Environmentalist and expert in desert sciences Anupam Mishra said: 'These hills are nine times the geological age of the Himalayas - and unlike the Himalayas they are very stable and strong. 'The Aravallis control everything, rain, drought and flood, on both sides, the desert and the fertile plains,' Mishra told IANS. Crucially, they block the sands of the Thar desert from blowing into the fertile plains of north India. 'But they are not very high, so people have exploited them for mining and construction. The range is considered raw material but it is actually a crucial lifeline,' Mishra said. 'There are gaps in the range at Nimi, near Jaipur, that have developed over the last 50-100 years where the desert air moves unchecked,' Mishra said. 'The desert is in a sense spilling over. We will miss the Aravallis only when north India becomes a big desert.' Another environmentalist, Ahmedabad-based Farhad Contractor, said on phone: 'The hills have been blasted and drained of their strength with all the mining. And the implementation of the laws has been pathetic. It is the government that allowed all this. If the Supreme Court doesn't step in, I fear that will be the case this time as well.' Mishra feared one isolated Supreme Court (SC) order would not be enough.” 3. Crucially, the Aravalli hills (mostly classified as gair mumkin pahar in revenue records) are a critical groundwater recharge zone for Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad. All three towns have a high dependence on ground water for drinking water and domestic supplies, especially Faridabad (100%). This is borne out by CGWB studies. The replenishment of groundwater through a natural (and augmented) process of infiltration in hydrological 543 Sector 23, Gurgaon; Tel: 9312404269, 9818768349, 9871628217; E-mail: missiongurgaondevelopment@gmail.com Governing Council: Vinay Shankar, Patron, Former Secretary, Govt of India Devinder Chopra, Patron, UN retiree Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM, President, Vice Chairman IESM Dr Nalini Bhargava, Vice President, Educationist Dr Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, General Secretary, Development professional Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, Treasurer, RTI activist        Vakul Cowshik, Member, Social worker www.missiongurgaondevelopment.org
  3. 3. mission® Reg No: DR/GGN/291 of 2010-11 GURGAON A people’s movement for good governance DEVELOPMENT recharge zones is critical for the long term ecological sustainability of these towns. [Environmental Earth Sciences (2010) 60:733–748 Hydrogeological factors: their association and relationship with seasonal water-table fluctuation in the composite hardrock Aravalli terrain, India Chandrashekhar Bhuiyan Received: 2 August 2008 / Accepted: 16 June 2009 / Published online: 4 July 2009 Springer-Verlag 2009] If the present development scenario continues unchecked news reports have it that CGWB has predicted that Gurgaon could run dry as early as 2017. 4. A conservative per hectare estimate of this natural and augmented infiltration is that about 33.6% of annual rainfall infiltrates into the ground or 20,00,000 litres per hectare per year. Valued at a conservative level Rs 0.10 per litre as the value of infiltration, this amounts to an annual recurring value of Rs 2,00,000 per hectare per year. 5. Applying the priniciple of inter-generational equity and precautionary principle, it is out duty to protect this land for our future generations and accordingly we value future recharge of groundwater that will be enjoyed by future generations at the same net present value as current recharge, with no discounting. Accordingly, the value of groundwater recharge for the next 100 years is going to be Rs 2 crores / hectare. Given the high value of recharge, it makes strong ecological and economic sense to zone this area for the provision of ecosystem services especially as a drinking water rehcharge zone. For your information, the Shimla drinking water catchment was similarly acquired and protected about 100 years ago, for the purpose of securing the drinking water supply of Shimla town. 6. The Regional Plan-2021 of NCR Planning Board also states that the areas surrounding water bodies “be kept free from anyencroachment/development to allow free flow of water” (pg 153). The Dhauj lake is already become seasonal and its lake bed has shrunk considerably from between 1975-76s to 2005-6 as per the Survey of India topographical maps. 7. While there has been considerable real estate development in the Aravallis especially near Surajkund, which have been facilitated by dubious zoning proposals in the past, there are still large chunks that are currently an un-inhabited highland Aravalli plateau, comprising of gair mumkin pahar land. There is no village abadi in the hills, just a few boundaries and buildings. Thus it the largest un-fragmented wilderness area that is a habitat for a variety of flora and fauna in perhaps the entire central NCR region. This includes jackal, fox, neel gai, monitor lizard, mongoose, porcupines, wild hare, snakes, and perhaps over hundred bird species. [Refer: Silent botanical disaster engulfing India, Surojit Mahalanobis, TNN | May 25, 2005Leopard caught near Gurgaon, TNN Mar 9, 2008, Leopard mowed down on NH-8 near Manesar, Dipak Kumar Dash, TNN | Sep 2, 2008] 8. There are also large patches of natural vegetation including the sacred grove called Mangar Bani, that is also at risk. 9. Available proposals of the Draft Development Plan (DDP) Mangar 2031 that include about 9 villages in the Aravalli hills allow about 20 kinds of real estate activities in the Aravalli hills, including farm houses, by including them in a so-called agricultural zone. 543 Sector 23, Gurgaon; Tel: 9312404269, 9818768349, 9871628217; E-mail: missiongurgaondevelopment@gmail.com Governing Council: Vinay Shankar, Patron, Former Secretary, Govt of India Devinder Chopra, Patron, UN retiree Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM, President, Vice Chairman IESM Dr Nalini Bhargava, Vice President, Educationist Dr Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, General Secretary, Development professional Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, Treasurer, RTI activist        Vakul Cowshik, Member, Social worker www.missiongurgaondevelopment.org
  4. 4. mission® Reg No: DR/GGN/291 of 2010-11 GURGAON A people’s movement for good governance DEVELOPMENT 10. The attached letter and report from the Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad, Haryana and signed by the District Forest Officer and other officers and researchers in Faridabad highlights the importance of the Aravalli hills for a variety of ecological reasons, and strongly suggests that the Aravallis be instead zoned as a no-build, groundwater recharge and forest conservation zone. 11. Indiscriminate mining in the region has led to massive destruction of vegetation, both directly in areas mined, as well as indirectly, due to disturbance around the mining pits. The stoppage of mining in some areas has given some respite to both flora and fauna. Damage to bio-diversity is compounded by the two four-lane criss-cross highways recently sanctioned across the Aravallis, effectively cutting off Asola Wildlife Sanctuary from the Haryana Aravallis, in clear violation of Apex Court judgments. 12. Mining pits that went below groundwater levels have led to exposure of ground water which is resulting in huge and continuing evaporation losses of precious groundwater. In an study of the area, the CGWB has estimated that from a total area of 902418 sq. m of exposed water table, the accumulative loss of 8,86,891 cubic meter fresh water is occurring each year. At a conservative value of just 10 paise/litre, this is loss is worth Rs 8.86 crores per year, or Rs 88.6 crores per decade. ( If valued at Rs 1/litre, then the loss is Rs 886 crores per decade). This calculation does not include the loss from the massive pumping of groundwater that was undertaken for dewatering the mines when they were in operation in the years prior to 2002. 13. Under orders from the Supreme Court in WP(Civil) 4677 of 1985, the Ministry of Environment and Forests is currently reviewing mine rehabilitation plans – both for the areas directly mined (the pits) as well as the adjacent mining lease areas which suffered secondary damage. Large areas of Mangar and other villages in the proposed DDP Mangar 2031 have suffered direct and indirect damage and need to be rehabilitated for the next several decades. The Government of Haryana has commissioned a comprehensive rehabilitation plan by WABCOS for Faridabad district. While one arm of the government is preparing rehabilitation plans that will lock up much of the Aravalli hills for restoration for the next several decades, zoning such area for real estate activities will be a violation of both the spirit and letter of Supreme Court orders and especially the current process of initiating a credible restoration process. 14. Haryana is amongst the laggard Indian states in terms of forest cover. Against the national policy of 33% forest cover, the state has less than 5% forest cover. Even within faridabad district, less than 10%-15% of land is under forest cover. Importantly, more than 75% of the forest cover of the district is concentrated in the aravalli hills. At a time when the entire district has been declared an urban zone, it is imperitive that existing forest and wilderness zones are conserved for their ecosystem benefits. The DDP 543 Sector 23, Gurgaon; Tel: 9312404269, 9818768349, 9871628217; E-mail: missiongurgaondevelopment@gmail.com Governing Council: Vinay Shankar, Patron, Former Secretary, Govt of India Devinder Chopra, Patron, UN retiree Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM, President, Vice Chairman IESM Dr Nalini Bhargava, Vice President, Educationist Dr Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, General Secretary, Development professional Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, Treasurer, RTI activist        Vakul Cowshik, Member, Social worker www.missiongurgaondevelopment.org
  5. 5. mission® Reg No: DR/GGN/291 of 2010-11 GURGAON A people’s movement for good governance DEVELOPMENT Mangar 2031 possibly includes about 33% of the forest cover of the forest cover of the district, and zoning it for anything apart from groundwater recharge and forest conservation will dramatically reduce the forest cover of the district. At a time when While Delhi and even Rajasthan have protected much of their Aravalli hills and formed reserve forests and even sanctuaries, Haryana lags behind and hardly 5% of the Aravallis in Haryana are under long term protection of the government. 15. We would instead suggest, that the approach taken by Delhi of declaring wildlife sanctuaries in the contiguous zone of Asola and Bhatti wildlife sanctuary, should be similarly emulated across the border in Faridabad and Gurgaon districts. Alternate provisions of the wild life protection act – such as community reserves, conservation reserves and national parks may also be considered. Once the tenure and zoning is secured, then the healing touch of time may be supported by restoration interventions by specialist institutions and under supervision of Forest Departments. 16. In Compliance of its judgment / order dated 06.07.2011 in WRIT PETITION Civil No. 202 OF 1995 T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India the Apex Court had directed that by 06.01.2012 the MoEF shall file its compliance report on Part II, namely: “(ii)...comply with the Office Memorandum dated 26.4.2011 issued by the MoEF which requires that all mining projects involving forests and for such non-mining projects which involve more than 40 hectares of forests, the project proponent shall submit the documents which have been enumerated in the said Memorandum. (iii) If the project proponent makes a claim regarding status of the land being non-forest and if there is any doubt the site shall be inspected by the State Forest Department along with the Regional Office of MoEF to ascertain the status of forests, based on which the certificate in this regard be issued. In all such cases, it would be desirable for the representative of State Forest Department to assess the Expert Appraisal Committee. (vi) ...Regional Offices of the MoEF, to facilitate detailed/in-depth scrutiny of the proposals involving diversion of forest area more than 5 hectares and up to 40 hectares and all proposals relating to mining and encroachments up to 40 hectares. (vii) Creation and regular updating of a GIS based decision support database, tentatively containing inter-alia the district-wise details of the location and boundary of (i) each plot of land that may be defined as forest for the purpose of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980; (ii) the core, buffer and eco-sensitive zone of the protected areas constituted as per the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; (iii) the important migratory corridors for wildlife; and (iv) the forest land diverted for non-forest 543 Sector 23, Gurgaon; Tel: 9312404269, 9818768349, 9871628217; E-mail: missiongurgaondevelopment@gmail.com Governing Council: Vinay Shankar, Patron, Former Secretary, Govt of India Devinder Chopra, Patron, UN retiree Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM, President, Vice Chairman IESM Dr Nalini Bhargava, Vice President, Educationist Dr Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, General Secretary, Development professional Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, Treasurer, RTI activist        Vakul Cowshik, Member, Social worker www.missiongurgaondevelopment.org
  6. 6. mission® Reg No: DR/GGN/291 of 2010-11 GURGAON A people’s movement for good governance DEVELOPMENT purpose in the past in the district. The Survey of India toposheets in digital format, the forest cover maps prepared by the Forest Survey of India in preparation of the successive State of Forest Reports and the conditions stipulated in the approvals accorded under the Forest (Conservations) Act, 1980 for each case of diversion of forest land in the district will also be part of the proposed decision support database….. 16. 33. Part II of our order gives guidelines to be followed by the Central Government, State Government and the various authorities under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. These guidelines are to be implemented in all future cases. These guidelines are required to be given so that fait accompli situations do not recur. We have issued these guidelines in the light of our experience in the last couple of years. These guidelines will operate in all future cases of environmental and forest clearances till a regulatory mechanism is put in place. On the implementation of these Guidelines, MoEF will file its compliance report within six months.” The Sultanpur Bird Sanctuary has been given protection in that no development is permitted by Haryana Government within 5 kms zone with certain exceptions. The compliance not yet having been filed in T.N. Godavarman, does not permit of gross violation of norms of no mining or industrial activity within 10 kms of water bodies/ lakes in Gurgaon or Faridabad Districts. [Refer A.P. POLLUTION CONTROL BOARD II V. PROF. M.V. NAYUDU 2000 5 Suppl.SCR 249 2001 2 SCC 62] or development of urban habitat in the Aravallis. In WP No 4677 of 1985 MC Mehta v UOI the Apex Court in Order dated 18 Mar 2004 held: “87. Having examined the matter, we are of the view that though the study conducted by CMPDI relates to mining activity in Aravalli Hills in Gurgaon district, in public interest the general safeguards and suggestions in that report deserve to be implemented in respect of mining in Faridabad district as well.” 17. In WP No 4677 of 1985 MC Mehta v UOI the Apex Court in Order 08 May 2009 held: “20. At this stage, we may also note that under Section 13(2)(qq) of 1957 Act, Rules have been framed for rehabilitation of flora and other vegetation destroyed by reason of any prospecting or mining operations...The most important aspect of the above guideline is making of a Rehabilitation Plan....21. None of the above provisions have been complied with. In the circumstance, by the present order, we hereby suspend all mining operations in the Aravalli Hill Range falling in the State of Haryana within the area of approximately 448 sq. kms. in the 543 Sector 23, Gurgaon; Tel: 9312404269, 9818768349, 9871628217; E-mail: missiongurgaondevelopment@gmail.com Governing Council: Vinay Shankar, Patron, Former Secretary, Govt of India Devinder Chopra, Patron, UN retiree Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM, President, Vice Chairman IESM Dr Nalini Bhargava, Vice President, Educationist Dr Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, General Secretary, Development professional Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, Treasurer, RTI activist        Vakul Cowshik, Member, Social worker www.missiongurgaondevelopment.org
  7. 7. mission® Reg No: DR/GGN/291 of 2010-11 GURGAON A people’s movement for good governance DEVELOPMENT Districts of Faridabad and Gurgaon including Mewat till Reclamation Plan duly certified by State of Haryana, MoEF and CEC is prepared in accordance with the above statutory provisions contained in various enactments enumerated above as well as in terms of the Rules framed thereunder and the guidelines.” 18. In all these orders the Apex Court has referred to the Aravalli Ranges as deemed forest to be protected from mining, which is inter alia permitted with safeguards in the Aravallis – by no stretch of the imagination, Haryana Government could read into this deemed forest order any latitude for urban development planning within the Apex Court protected area of the Aravalli Ranges. In a deemed forest there simply cannot be urban development or even farmhouses on urban pattern as widely seen in Delhi Aravallis. 19. You are therefore requested to withhold the Mangar Development Plan and any other development activities in Aravalli Ranges till filing of compliance by MoEF vide para 33 of judgment / order of Apex Court dated 06.07.2011 in WRIT PETITION Civil No. 202 OF 1995 T.N. Godavarman Thirumulpad v. Union of India. Yours Sincerely Lt Col(Retd) S.S. Oberoi Treasurer Mission Gurgaon Development Copy to: 1. 2. 3. 4. Chairperson, Central Empowered Committee, of the Honourable Supreme Court Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Government of India Dr PJ Dilipkumar, Director General Forests and Special Secretary, MoEF Financial Commissioner & Principal Secretary Town & Country Planning Haryana, Fax 0172-2714011 5. Chief Secretary to Government Haryana, Fax 0172-2740317 6. Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad. 543 Sector 23, Gurgaon; Tel: 9312404269, 9818768349, 9871628217; E-mail: missiongurgaondevelopment@gmail.com Governing Council: Vinay Shankar, Patron, Former Secretary, Govt of India Devinder Chopra, Patron, UN retiree Maj Gen Satbir Singh, SM, President, Vice Chairman IESM Dr Nalini Bhargava, Vice President, Educationist Dr Bhawani Shankar Tripathy, General Secretary, Development professional Col Sarvadaman Oberoi, Treasurer, RTI activist        Vakul Cowshik, Member, Social worker www.missiongurgaondevelopment.org

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