2012.06.17 citizens objection letter mangar ddp 2031 to dgtcp haryana secy mo ef and ncrpb

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  • 1. From: Lt Col(Retd) Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi and other concerned citizens & Mission Gurgaon Development and other NGOs 1102/Tower 1, Uniworld Garden Sector 47, Gurgaon 122018 Date: 12th June 2012 To: Director General, Town & Country Planning Directorate of Town & Country Planning, Haryana Government of Haryana, Sector 18, Chandigarh 160018 ccpncr.haryana@gmail.com Dear Sir Subject: Objections to the Mangar DDP 2031 with the purpose of affording Protection of Faridabad Aravallis hilly areas and deemed forests including Mangar Bani Sacred Grove from real estate pressures/ mega recreational zones including agricultural zoning in the Mangar DDP 2031. 1. Please find attached my Objections/ Suggestions for Draft Development Plan-2031 AD, Mangar, released for objection by the said government on 17 May 2012/ 21 May 2012. a. We are filing (rendering and/or making available) objections and suggestions in the form of electronic record(s) as per Information technology Act 2000. My filing is in form of an email. b. As per provision of Sections 6A & 87 Information Technology Act 2000 and Rule 5 of Information Technology (Electronic Service Delivery) Rules 2011 you are requested to keep my filed electronic records accessible to me and others on your website and/or computer resources immediately. 2. We, the undersigned, residents of southern Haryana and Delhi, are deeply concerned about the future of Gurgaon, Faridabad and Delhi,
  • 2. whose groundwater and forest ecological security is critically dependent on the Aravalli hill ranges of southern Haryana, which are already devastated by past mining. 3. We are dismayed, that, instead of identifying and protecting the last remaining patches of natural forests and wilderness which are also critical groundwater recharge zones as identified by Central Ground Water Board, as a forest zone, or sanctuaries or national parks, the state government of Haryana is making provisions for and therefore directing for the use of deemed forest lands for non-forest purposes. This is being effected by including 1000s of hectares of Faridabad Aravalli hilly areas into an agricultural zone which allows Mega Tourism projects and other uses under a new master plan – Mangar DDP 2031, in prima facie violation of section 2(ii) of the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) and also planning huge highways through the Aravalli hills. 4. The Ministry of Environment and Forest has also requested the state government to identify its deemed forests and make a geo-referenced map vide a letter F.No.11-09/2012-PC dated 18th May 2012 addressed to Chief Secretary, Haryana. The MoEF has further advised that Mangar DDP 2031, containing provision for non-forest activities, within the areas, which (as per the said petitioners) may be defined as “forest” for the purpose of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 be kept in abeyance till such time geo-referenced map is prepared and submitted to MoEF. 5. We have grave objections to the hilly area zone in the DDP being conflated into the agriculture zone resulting in a combined said ‘agricultural’ zone under this proposed development plan, which is not in consonance with the ground reality of hilly zone being the Aravalli Range, that cannot be interchangeably called an agricultural zone. In fact the hilly zone of the Aravalli Range: i. Is scrub, open, or moderately dense forests as identified by forest cover in the State of Forest Report 2011, and earlier reports of the Forest Survey of India. ii. Includes Northern Dry Deciduous Forest (Group 5/Subgroup 5B) and Northern Tropical Thorn Forest (Group 6/Subgroup 6B) types of forest as per the definitive classification of Forests in India by
  • 3. Champion HG & SK Seth, entitled, “A revised survey of the forest types of India” published in 1968 by Manager of Publications, Government of India, Delhi. iii. Is deemed forest as per Godavarman and Lafarge judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, irrespective of notification, ownership or condition of forest. iv. includes over 30% of the total forest cover of the district of Faridabad. v. that has been used for grazing, fuelwood and timber collection for hundreds of years by the local gujjar pastoral community and is therefore forest by ‘context’ vi. is classified as gair mumkin pahar – which refers to it not being suitable for agriculture as per revenue record land type classifications vii. includes several water bodies and johars viii. includes the mangar bani sacred grove, which includes amongst the largest collection of aravalli native vegetation, which has vanished in the rest of Delhi, Faridabad and Gurgaon belt. ix. includes the catchment area of the Dhauj lake which is under stress and has turned seasonal like Badhkhal and Surajkund lakesand whose catchment therefore needs to be protected. x. a critical ground water recharge zone (as identified by the Central Ground Water Board) that is key to the groundwater security of Faridabad and Gurgaon (which are 100% and 70% dependent on groundwater for domestic supplies) xi. where infiltration of rainfall has been valued at Rs 24.9 lakhs / ha. xii. is an important wildlife habitat for the district xiii. is a wildlife corridor connecting Asola Bhatti wildlife sanctuaries in Delhi with the Aravalli hills of Gurgaon. xiv. has been identified as a significant bird habitat, xv.where the Hon’ble Supreme Court has ordered a “ban on mining activity and pumping of groundwater imposed in an area upto 5 km from Delhi-Haryana border on the Haryana side of ridge and Aravalli hills.” (order dated 6.5.2002 in WPC 4677 of 1985). xvi. Is a barrier against desertification xvii. Has been devastated by legal and illegal mining and needing long term restoration and rehabilitation as per the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
  • 4. 6. However all of the items (i) to (xxiii) in Appendix B of the Mangar DDP 2031 proposed for the agriculture zone in the zoning regulations are incompatible with the eco-sensitive nature of the hilly Aravalli zone. a. The Mangar DDP 2031 itself states in the section on Topography, that “Apart from the Aravalli ranges, the rest of the area is plain and is being used for agricultural purposes”. This implies that the Aravalli hills are not being used for agricultural purposes and this, in fact, is the case on the ground. b. Indeed, the revenue records for these villages clearly state the hill land to be gair mumkin pahar, i.e. not suitable for agriculture. c. Further, apart from mining, virtually all of these activities in Appendix B the master of the Mangar DDP 2031 are non-site specific activities, which intrinsically have nothing in their nature that requires them to be undertaken in the Aravalli hills, indeed they can easily be allowed outside the Aravallis in the remaining 80-90% of the district. In fact allowing these activities in the Aravalli hills will lead to permanent damage to the eco-sensitive nature of the hills. Of these various proposals, the proposal for a 500 ha mega tourism zone is particularly problematic. 7. Accordingly, we object to the inclusion of the hilly zone into the agriculture zone and DEMAND that, in keeping with the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India’s judgements that “the Aravallis must be protected at any cost” (xx.5.2004), and various other judgements relating to mining, groundwater, construction, and for all the reasons 5.i to 5.xvii, and 6.a to 6.c mentioned above and dealt in detail in the note below, the Aravalli hill areas zone be delineated clearly in the existing landuse map and the DDP Mangar 2031 drawing/map. Once delineated we strongly urge the Aravalli hills be a separate zoning category in the Mangar DDP 2031, and that none of the 23 activities (numbered (i) to (xiii)) proposed for the agricultural zone in Appendix B of the Mangar DDP 2031, are allowed in the hilly zone. 8. Instead the Aravalli hill zone should be separately identified and zoned as a natural conservation area, in consonance with the Aravalli hills being already zoned as a natural conservation area in the Regional Plan
  • 5. 2021 prepared by the NCR Planning Board, which all NCR states are mandated to follow under the NCR Planning Board Act of 1985. We propose a revised Appendix B, with the following activities allowed and not allowed for the Aravalli Natural conservation zone. a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. Wildlife protection and management Afforestation with indigenous species Identification of natural water recharge zones Augmentation of natural recharge Protected Forest /Reserved Forest/ Conservation Reserve / Community Reserve/ Sanctuary/ National Park / Biodiversity Heritage Site / Hill Resource Management Society / Joint Forest Management Committee No change of land use permission No construction of boundary walls, buildings, sheds, etc No drilling of borewells and pumping of water and no transportation of water from plain areas to the aravallis, except for public purpose – like supply to schools No fencing (except by the Forest department) No demarcation and possession of land No cutting of trees, except for subsistence fuelwood and fodder use by village communities, and as per a management plan. 9. The Regional Plan 2021 of the NCR Planning Board (NCRPB) includes the following provisions related to environment: a. Refers to industry, mining, construction, cutting of trees and electrification and states that “No such activities should be undertaken in the Aravalli range in NCR” (14.2.ix). b. Land is the most crucial and critical environment resource (14.2) c. The land use allocation has to be carefully carried out in order to protect and conserve both surface and ground water resources (14.2.ii). d. Master/Development Plans for the towns in the region should incorporate land suitability analysis for land use allocations (14.2.iii). e. While carrying out activities for the development of the region, provisions under Environmental Protection Act, 1986 and Rules
  • 6. thereof should be followed, and environmental sensitivity of the region and existing quality of the environment should be considered (14.2.v). a. Including the Aravalli hill range gair mumkin pahar area in the agricultural zone, with its 23 landuse proposals, is contrary to these mandates of the Regional Plan 2021 stated above. Accordingly we demand that the the Mangar DDP2031 should state whether it is in compliance with the Regional Plan 2021 prepared by the NCRPB, particularly the landuse provisions and provisions relating to environment including the ones specified above. If not, we object to this non-compliance in Mangar DDP 2031 and demand that the Regional Plan 2021 be fully compliant particularly the landuse provisions and provisions relating to environment including those specified above. 10. The areas/zones mentioned below located in NCR should be conserved/ protected as per the Regional Plan 2021, section 14.2.viii, Their applicability in the Aravalli Range areas including in the Mangar DDP 2031 is analysed in the table below and these categories should be protected or created as the case may be in the Aravalli Range areas. The areas/zones mentioned below located in NCR should be conserved/protected: Applicability in the Aravalli Range areas included in the Mangar DDP 2031 1 Reserved/protected forests These should be declared 2 Forests other than reserved and protected forests Entire aravalli range is included in this 3 Monuments-National, State, Local Ballu Raja’s rock fort, Old Sarai’s, Ancient road/walking paths 4 Heritage/cultural sites Several archeological sites. Including rock paintings, ancient pottery shards etc Mangar Bani sacred grove is a natural heritage site 5 Scenic areas The Mangar Bani sacred grove, the Dhauj Rock climbing area, the Dhauj lake are well known scenic areas 6 National parks Aravalli range including Mangar Bani should be made a national park
  • 7. 7 Sanctuaries Aravalli range including Mangar Bani could also be made a sanctuary 8 Areas with endangered species-flora and fauna Mangar Bani 9 Biosphere reserves Inter-state Aravalli Biosphere Reserve proposed to be studies by UNESCO 10 Wetlands Includes the Dhauj lake, 11 Resorts/areas of tourist interest Mangar Bani, Dhauj lake and their buffer/environs. Aravalli plateau 12 Water bodies Dhauj lake and various johars (local water bodies) in the Aravalli hills 13 Springs/water recharge areas Entire Aravalli hills identified as a water recharge area by the Central Ground Water Board. 14 Other environmental resource areas Wild life habitat and corridor 11. Existing and Proposed Landuse. The Mangar DDP 2031 does not discuss the existing land-use in the text of the plan. The proposed landuse is also partially stated in the section on Major Land Use Proposals. a. The total area of the plan is not mentioned. b. The area under Aravalli hill ranges is not mentioned. c. There is no mention of the existing landuse - the extent of forest cover, the groundwater recharge zones, the wildlife habitat and corridors etc, the wet and dry mining pits that need long term restoration etc, areas under agriculture, the water bodies and johar’s etc that need protection, the commonlands that cannot be alienated etc. d. As per section (14.2.iii) of the Regional Plan 2021 , Development Plans should incorporate land suitability analysis for land use allocations. e. Accordingly, we urge and suggest the TCP dept. assess the existing landuse especially aravalli hill range, forest cover and water bodies, mining pits area, and make a quantitative and map presentation of the existing landuse – in terms of total actual and proportional area, in the text of the plan.
  • 8. f. Even the proposed landuse is partially described at only 529.47 ha and only covers open space and transport. Rest of the landuse is not described in the major landuse proposal, so that the proportionate impact of each proposal cannot be ascertained. g. The landuse and zoning proposal are floating in nature. The mega tourism zones are not displayed on the map, neither is the university. Given the large scale of these mega tourism zone activities, they are more suitably categorized as major land-uses and need to be clearly identified in the map, so that citizens and the various committees of the TCP dept. can assess whether they fall in the Aravalli hills and make informed choices about the trade offs that are involved in these proposals. h. The full proposed landuse of the entire area covered by the Mangar DDP 2031 should be quantified and described, especially the aravalli range and plain agricultural lands. i. The date on the Existing Land Use Plan bearing drawing no. D.T.P (F) 2676/12 dated 2nd May, 2012 suggests that it was prepared after the DDP Manger has been prepared first on 15th July 2010, and subsequently finalized on 10th April 2012. j. This implies that neither the existing landuse drawing, nor the area under different existing landuses, especially for the eco-sensitive aravalli ranges, was made available for perusal or comment throughout the statutory clearance process at the meetings of the District Level Committee in July 2011, the Metropolitan Planning Committee in August 2011 and the State Level Committee, chaired by the Chief Minister of Haryana, himself in January 2012. k. Therefore, we object to this faulty clearance of the Mangar DDP 2031 with sharing of partial and incomplete information with the members of the committees involved and recommend and assert that the clearance process is null and void. l. We recommend, that once the existing and proposed landuses are ascertained and quantified and located on the map, then the clearances from the three committees – at district, division, and state level, and citizen comment should be sought afresh.
  • 9. 12. The Draft Development Plan of Mangar, has wrongly classified the Aravalli hills as agricultural zone, therefore in the same contention this Development Plan is not valid. It is our contention that the agriculture zone and the Aravalli hills should be correctly mapped as per existing reality. 13. Aravalli in Natural Conservation Zone. a. The Regional Plan 2021 mandates a Natural Conservation Zone that includes the major natural features, identified as environmentally sensitive areas, such as the extension of Aravalli ridge, forest areas, rivers, lakes and water bodies (17.4.3). b. It states that , “The extension of the Aravalli ridge, sanctuaries and other ecologically sensitive areas be conserved with utmost care and afforested with suitable species” (17.4.3.i). c. It also requires that “Detailed Conservation Plans be prepared for the areas shown as Natural Area Conversation Zone in the Land Use Plan 2021” (17.4.3.v). d. Accordingly, we recommend that, given the eco-sensitive nature of the hilly area/zone falling in the Mangar DDP 2021, as mandated by the Regional Plan 2021, and given the strategic location of the area between Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad, a committee of subject matter experts that includes town planners, foresters, groundwater experts from the CGWB, etc, ecologists, naturalists, wildlife scientists, environmental economists etc be set up. The said committee should assess the ecological significance of the area and undertake a strategic environmental assessment and develop a Detailed Conservation Plan for the area. e. This strategic environmental assessment and develop a Detailed Conservation Plan may be the basis for developing a Mangar DDP subsequently. f. Any development plan on a ecologically sensitive area calls for a vulnerability mapping and land suitability analysis to determine developable and non-developable zones. g. It is pointed out that the Delhi Master Plan prepared by DDA has a chapter on environment based on an environmental assessment. An environmental assessment by an independent group of experts should accordingly be undertaken.
  • 10. 14. Zoning protection for Mangar Bani. a. We object strongly to the lack of zoning protection to the Mangar Bani. b. The Faridabad Aravallis include regions such as the Mangar Bani sacred grove. Just outside Delhi, the Mangar Bani sacred grove is a micro-habitat of high conservation value and scientific interest. It contains a unique assemblage of northern Aravalli plants that has been conserved by local village communities as a protected, sacred grove. In the entire area of the NCR, this is the last surviving (relict) undisturbed patch of Anogeissus pendula forest which has a limited range and distribution and also possibly includes hundreds of other species of flora. This could attract provisions for ‘entities of incomparable value’ and is certainly worthy of special protection as mentioned earlier (Times of India 24 Jan 2012, Mega tourism nod pushes sacred woods to the brink) c. The Bani should be shown in the existing landuse map and the proposed landuse map (irrespective of its zoning) so that citizens and investors are aware of its location. d. We recommend that in the Mangar DDP 2031 the Mangar Bani and a suitable buffer area of 400-500 ha around it be included in a new zoning – natural conservation zone, or forest zone or sanctuary zone or failing that in the existing open space zone and steps be taken to notify it as a conservation reserve / wildlife sanctuary/national park. 15. Mega 1000% road upgrade. a. We object strongly to the proposal to upgrade the village link road from Faridabad-Gurgaon road to village Mangar-SilakhariDhauj-Alawalpur-Fatehpur Tagga and beyond, from its current 3-6 metres to a proposed 60 meters – an increase of a whopping 1000% or more. b. Upgrading the road to 60 metres right through the Aravalli hills will further fragment habitat and restrict movement of wildlife in an important Aravalli wildlife corridor between Delhi and Gurgaon.
  • 11. c. The purpose of village link roads is to link villages, not provide a thoroughfare. d. As Pali-Dhauj Sohna Road is already being upgraded, and that will already join up at the start of the Faridabad Gurgaon Road. Therefore no purpose is served by an additional new road, unless the objective is to open up currently roadless Aravalli areas for development, real estate, and mega tourism. e. Further, prior to proposing the road, forest and environmental clearance should also be taken, as the road will pass through a deemed forest area and a sensitive groundwater recharge zone. f. The master plan should clarified if this road is in compliance with the Faridabad Mobility plan and the Transportation plans of the NCR Planning Board. 16. Mega Tourism Zones or Wildlife Sanctuary a. The Regional Plan 2021 states that “Regional recreational activities with no construction exceeding 0.5% of the area with the permission of the competent authority.” (17.5.3.iv). b. It also states that “The extension of the Aravalli ridge, sanctuaries and other ecologically sensitive areas be conserved with utmost care and afforested with suitable species” (17.4.3.i). c. Accordingly, we recommend that the Mangar DDP 2021 should clarify that there are no Mega Tourism zone activities in the Aravalli hill areas, the zones should be specified in the map, and restricted to 0.5% of the area, as above. d. Instead the mandate of the The Regional Plan 2021 “Regional recreational uses such as, regional parks, wildlife sanctuary etc. (17.5.4.iii)”, may be followed for the Aravalli hill zones in the Mangar DDP 2021. 17. Forest cover in Haryana is amongst the lowest levels in the country and needs to be increased by the Mangar DDP 2031. a. The Haryana Forest Policy 2006 prepared on the basis of National Forest Policy 1988, which has been held by the Apex Court in the Lafarge judgement (2011) to have the force of law, has stipulated that forest cover in Haryana shall be 10 percent by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020.
  • 12. b. The Regional Plan 2021 states “In view of the very low existing forest cover (4.02%), it is imperative to bring more areas under forest so as to maintain the ecological balance in this region” (17.4.3.ii) a. Whereas the Forest Survey of India Report 2011 has pegged forest cover in Haryana at a low level of 3.64 percent with undivided Faridabad at 4.32 percent, which is far below the levels mandated in both the state Forest Policy. b. Whereas, on the other hand, the capital of Haryana and Punjab – the planned city of Chandigarh, has a recorded forest land of 34 km2, which is a full 29.82% of the total area of the city and includes two sanctuaries covering 26.02 km2 (and 22.8%) of the total area. c. Similarly, forest cover in Delhi, of South Delhi district (adjacent to Faridabad district) is 31.33% and New Delhi district is 46.6%. d. In this context it may also be mentioned that the extensions of the southern Haryana Aravalli hills, are protected in adjacent areas of Delhi and Rajasthan as forests. i. The Northern ridge and central ridge in Delhi were notified as reserve forests in 1914/1915. ii. The Asola Bhatti Wildlife sanctuary was notified in 1986 and 1991. iii. Similarly, extensive areas of Aravalli hills in Rajasthan are also protected as government forests and sanctuaries and National Parks. e. In such a scenario, it is critical and mandated by law (cited above) that state and district planning activities should be in conformity with these forest policy objectives and should support expansion rather than diversion of forest cover areas and deemed forest areas. This would hold especially true for zoning plans and development control plans which control and guide land use change – in which areas to preserve existing landuse and where to change it. f. Accordingly, given the terribly low forest cover in Haryana and Faridabad, we object that the Mangar DDP 2031 is not zoning the entire Aravalli hills as forest zone. We recommend that the Mangar DDP 2031:
  • 13. i. identify the little existing forest cover there is in the district and area under planning, ii. provide un-assailable and permanent zoning protection for the little existing forest cover there is in the district and the plan area, and iii. identify wildlife habitat and corridors, and iv. make provisions for zoning non-forest areas as open space and for afforestation, so that forest cover can be expanded over time rather than depleted. 18. The entire Faridabad district has been declared an urban zone. The Aravallis cover less than 5% of the undivided Faridabad district – the state government still has over 80-90% left to develop and urbanize. a. The entire hilly zone is recommended to be delineated as a groundwater recharge and forest conservation zone as per the letter number 2117-22/ DA, dated 10th December, 2011 send by the DC Faridabad. The State Level Committee Minutes simply state that this letter and recommendation has been received, but does not state why the nature of discussion, why it was not accepted, and where Faridabad would get its water supply if its water recharge zones are habitated. b. Given the small proportion of area of Aravalli hills in the district and also the small proportion of area of forest cover, the entire Aravalli range area falling in the Mangar DDP 2031 should be zoned as a permanent natural conservation area/ forest zone /groundwater recharge zone. 19. Gurgaon and Faridabad cities are 70% to 100% dependent on groundwater for domestic water supply. Already Gurgaon is overdrawing groundwater by about 300% of the annual recharge. Goundwater levels in Faridabad area are also dropping. Given this high dependence on ground water, the importance of the Aravalli hills for groundwater recharge and water security and which include the catchments of several lakes, is heightened. i. Due to groundwater flow in all directions (see map attached), this area has been identified as a recharge zone for groundwater
  • 14. for Delhi, Faridabad and Gurgaon by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB, 2008). “Groundwater outflows from this area towards all the directions. This area primarily forms recharge zones for the downstream areas.” (Central Ground Water Board, 2008. Hydrological investigations in mining areas of Delhi and Faridabad, Chandigarh: Government of India., submitted to the Hon’ble Supreme Court (report attached) ii. Fractures, joints and cracks lead to high secondary porosity.“The hard rock formations comprising of hills form recharge zone for the downstream areas (pg 18)” (CGWB, 2008 cited above). iii. Groundwater recharge is to the tune of 20,00,000 litres per hectare per year (1/3 of rainfall of 600 mm) which is worth approximately Rs 2 lakh per year (@ of Rs 0.10/litre) and has a Net Present Value of Rs 24.9 Lakhs (5%, 20 years – same as NPV calculations for CAMPA) and a higher NPV upto Rs 1.5 crores per hectare (Rs 2 lakhs/ha/year x 100 years (4 generations) at 0.1% discounting ( on the lines adopted by Stern Review – privileging inter-generational equity) (Agarwal C, 2011).
  • 15. Source: Central Ground Water Board, 2008. Hydrological investigations in mining areas of Delhi and Faridabad, Chandigarh: Government of India.) 20. The master plan, does not identify or provide any zoning protection to the catchment of Dhauj Lake, which falls completely within the Mangar DDP 2031 area and has turned seasonal in the last decade.
  • 16. a. Faridabad aravallis includes the catchments of several lakes including Badhkal lake, Surajkund lake, Peacock Lake, and Dhauj lake (which falls within the Mangar DDP 2031), which are critical for recharge of groundwater for drinking water supply downstream of city and village areas. All these lakes including Dhauj lake have turned seasonal in the last decade. Specifically, the master plan, does not identify or provide any zoning protection to the catchment of Dhauj Lake, which falls completely within the Mangar DDP 2031 area and has turned seasonal in the last decade. b. The Regional Plan (17.4.3.iii) states that, “The areas under water bodies, ox-bow lakes and paleo-channels and their surrounding areas as shownin the Ground Water Rechargeable Areas in Map 8.1/Land Use Plan 2021 in Map 17.2 be kept free from any encroachment/development to allow free flow of water. Construction activities for human habitation or for any other ancillary purpose thereto not be permitted. Suitable measures be taken to maintain the water bodies with the minimal flow/water level”. c. Just as the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered the catchment of Sukhna Lake be delineated and protected from construction, in 2012, the Mangar DDP 2031, should similarly identify the catchment of the Dhauj lake, and the lake catchment should be zoned as a no-construction zone.
  • 17. 21. Flood Prone Areas. The Mangar village valley and hilly nullahs have been identified as flood prone in the district gazetteer. The Regional Plan 2021 states that “In the flood prone areas/river beds/banks, no construction or habitation activities be permitted”. Accordingly water pathways and flood prone areas may be identified in the Mangar DDP 2021 and zoned as recommended in the Regional Plan 2021. 22. Archeological sites. The region also contains sites of archeological importance from the late Harappan era (Hindustan Times 6.2.2012 – Hold Fast to the Past by Nayanjot Lahiri). These sites should be identified and protected by zoning as natural conservation zone. 23. Wilderness habitat and corridor and micro-climatic benefits. a. The Faridabad Aravallis (including Mangar Bani forest patch) are an important wilderness and wildlife habitat adjoining Delhi, and, contiguous with the Asola Bhatti Sanctuaries in the Delhi ridge, thus forming a natural buffer to them. b. Due to their geographic location, the Faridabad Aravallis are a critical link in the Aravalli forest and wildlife corridor between Delhi (esp. Asola Bhatti sanctuary) and Gurgaon-Mewat-Alwar Aravalli hills extending to Sariska National Park and form a large and still relatively unfragmented habitat. A leopard reported from Asola Bhatti sanctuary, is likely to have reached via the Faridabad aravallis. Times of India 3.3.2012 – Bhatti Mines spring to life. c. The forested Aravallis are recognized as a barrier against desertification of the Delhi NCR region. They also provide micro-climatic benefits – reducing dust and temperatures, mitigating the heat island effect of builtup city areas thus helping adapt to climate change. 24. Forest conservation and groundwater recharge considerations have been ignored in decision making. The Forest Department of Haryana State was reportedly not consulted in preparing the initial draft of the Mangar DDP 2031, and was apparently not invited to the meeting to clear it at the State level. Neither apparently was the Hydrology department or the Central Groundwater Board, which has a regional office in Chandigarh itself. This points to a broader systemic flaw in
  • 18. decision making at the state level, wherein groundwater recharge and forest and wildlife ecosystem service concerns are not represented in mdecision-making regarding masterplans, which, by deciding zoning, have enormous influence on landuse decisions and landuse outcomes and on the protection or destruction of the ecological assets of the area. These should be rectified. 25. The Deputy Commissioner, Faridabad had organized a field visit to the Aravallis and has subsequently written to Town & Country Planning and Forest Departments , a. highlighting the deemed forest nature of the Aravallis b. drawing attention to Mangar Bani sacred grove c. proposing to protect the entire Aravalli hills under section 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), thereby restricting landuse change d. and suggesting zoning the Aravallis for water recharge zone and forest conservation in the Mangar DDP 2031 “in which no fencing, groundwater exploitation and construction activity is permitted.” (letter and minutes of field visit are attached). e. None of these suggestions have apparently been accepted at the time of writing. f. We recommend, that these recommendations be reviewed by competent independent experts including the CGWB and acted upon. 26. District administration decision to cover all remaining Aravalli hills under section 4 & 5 of the Punjab Forest Preservation Act (PLPA) is on hold. The Mangar PLPA proposal is pending with the state govt. a. Based on the decisions recorded in the field visit minutes on 2.12.2011 (attached as above), and a meeting on 6.12.2011, the state forest department has moved a case to the state government of Haryana to notify under section 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), the remaining gair mumkin pahar areas (Aravalli hills) of Mangar village in the first instance, (about 2/3 of the hills, only about 1/3 were notified before) and thus provide
  • 19. them additional protection. However the state Government has not yet taken a decision to notify the same. 27. District Town Planner’s letter to increase forest zoning from 1800 to 3800 ha (approx.) ignored. The District Town Planner, Faridabad, had written to his superiors in Chandigarh in December 2012, to increase the area zoned as forest in the Mangar DDP 2031 proposal from approximately 1800 ha to about 3800 ha, but this too was not apparently accepted. 28. The residents of Mangar village of Faridabad district and the neighbouring Bandhwari village (Gurgaon district) had also written to district officials to protect the Mangar Bani and a buffer area of about 400-500 ha. These letters reflect the sentiments of these two villages as well as that of many villages in the region. The Mangar bani, remarkably, has been protected locally by the same pastoral gujjar and other villagers who normally graze their cattle in the hill forests. The patron saint of the Mangar Bani is said to be Gudhariya Baba who lived there in times unknown and his spirit is still said to afford protection to the sacred zone. Given this history of the grove, we recommend that the Mangar DDP acknowledge the sacred grove in the map and afford it strict zoning protection. 29. Restrain speculation in land dealings in Eco-sensitive Aravalli areas. a. The Master Plan for the Faridabad-Ballabhgarh Complex 2011 specifically recognizes the force of speculation in land dealings along the Gurgaon-Faridabad Road. b. The Mangar DDP 2031 by proposing Mega Tourism Zone, large highways thru aravalli areas etc seems to be playing into the hands of such speculative forces. c. We recommend that the Mangar DDP 2031 should recognize that such speculative activities are inappropriate in eco-sensitive areas such as the aravallis, and that its zoning proposals should aim to protect the aravalli hill ranges and restrain speculative forces. d. However on the ground, it seems that a fait accompli situation is fast arising in the Faridabad Aravallis and may spread to the whole of the Southern Haryana Aravallis.
  • 20. Endst No. 1 By Email only to: 1. Ms. Jayanthi Natarajan Hon'ble Minister of State Environment and Forests Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003 mosefgoi@nic.in 2. The Secretary National Capital Region Planning Board Ministry of Urban Development, Core-IV B, First Floor, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road New Delhi- 110003 ncrpb-ms@nic.in 3. Central Empowered Committee (Supreme Court) through the Chairman, II Floor, Chanakya Bhawan, Chanakyapuri New Delhi-110021 duttatimirbaran@yahoo.com 4. The Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests Paryavaran Bhawan, CGO Complex Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003 t.chatterjee@nic.in 5. The Chief Secretary Haryana Haryana Secretariat, Sector 1 Chandigarh 160001 cs@hry.nic.in Dear Sir, Kindly direct the competent authority to cancel Mangar DDP 2031 because: 1. Grave objection to inclusion of 1000s of hectares of Faridabad Aravalli hilly areas in prima facie violation of section 2(ii) of the Forest Conservation
  • 21. Act (FCA) and also planning huge highways through the Aravalli hills in prima facie violation of National Biological Diversity Act, 2002. (Paras 2, 5(xii) to (xiv), 15 & 16) 2. Grave objection to the hilly area zone in the DDP being conflated into the agriculture zone resulting in a combined said ‘agricultural’ zone by use of misleading words "Major Land Use Proposals..proposed to be reserved for maintenance and preservation of existing activities and is being termed as agricultural/Hilly zones in the meaning of Act 41 of 1963" whereas Act 41 of 1963 only defines the term "agriculture" and nowhere mentions hilly zones. (Paras 5, 6 & 12) 3. Hilly area zone of Southern Haryana Aravallis is deemed forest as per Godavarman and Lafarge judgements of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, irrespective of notification, ownership or condition of forest. (Para 5(iii)) 4. Hilly area zone is classified as gair mumkin pahar – which refers to it not being suitable for agriculture as per revenue record land type classifications. (Para 5(vi)) 5. Hilly area zone includes several water bodies and johars. (Para 5(vii)) 6. Hilly area zone includes the mangar bani sacred grove, which includes amongst the largest collection of aravalli native vegetation, which has vanished in the rest of Delhi, Faridabad and Gurgaon belt. (Para 5(viii)) 7. Hilly area zone includes the catchment area of the Dhauj lake which is under stress and has turned seasonal like Badhkhal and Surajkund lakes and whose catchment therefore needs to be protected. (Para 5(ix)) 8. Entire Southern Haryana Aravallis, nearly half of which has undergone creeping urban development in contravention of Supreme Court judgements over last two decades, is a critical ground water recharge zone (as identified by the Central Ground Water Board in 2008) that is key to the groundwater security of Faridabad, Gurgaon and South Delhi. (Paras 5(x) & 19) 9. Irreparable damage was caused to the ecology of Southern Haryana Aravallis by mining which continues, albeit illegally on a smaller scale, which can be controlled if kept under satellite survellance. (Para 5(xvii)) 10. Hilly area zone of Southern Haryana Aravallis is deemed forest and hence it be be a separate zoning category which should be separately identified and zoned as a natural conservation area, in consonance with the
  • 22. Aravalli hills being already zoned as a natural conservation area in the Regional Plan 2021 prepared by the NCR Planning Board, which all NCR states are mandated to follow under the NCR Planning Board Act of 1985. (Paras 5(iii), 7, 8, 9, 13, 15 & 16) 11. Fatal flaws in Existing and Proposed Land Use Plan. (Para 11) 12. Existing major shortfall in mandated forest cover. (Para 17 & 18) 13. No provision of zoning protection to the catchment of Dhauj Lake, which falls completely within the Mangar DDP 2031. (Para 20) 14. No provision of zoning protection to Flood Prone Areas and Archeological sites. (Paras 21 & 22) 15. Wilderness habitat and corridor and micro-climatic benefits against desertification of Delhi NCR would be lost for ever. (Para 23) 16. Systemic flaw - Forest Department of Haryana State was reportedly not consulted. (Para 24) 17. Advise of district authorities and requests of local people ignored by State Level Committee which had no representation of forest or wildlife officers. (Paras 25 to 28) 18. Fait accompli situation in hilly area zone of Southern Haryana Aravallis caused by speculative land dealings in violation of laws on disposal of common user land as laid down by Apex Court in 2011. (Para 29) Kindly direct the competent authority to cancel Mangar DDP 2031, all other similar plans and demolish all similar activity earlier carried out in Southern Haryana Aravallis because of the disastrous ecological consequences that have been explained in detail in paragraphs 1 to 18 above. Date: 17 June 2012 Place: Gurgaon Lt Col(Retd) Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi 1102/Tower 1, Uniworld Garden Sector 47, Gurgaon 122018