2012.05.31 citizens letter on godavarman wp 202 of 1995 06.07.2011 to secy mo ef and cs haryana
1. Chief Secretary,
Govt of Haryana, Haryana Secretariat,
2. The Secretary
Ministry of Environment & Forests
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road,
New Delhi 110003
Subject: Improper Implementation of Judgement dated 26.07.2011 in
1. The Secretary MoEF letter dated 05.09.2011, forwarded by the Chief
Secretary Haryana letter dated 21.09.2011 to the Financial
Commissioner & Principal Secretary Haryana Forests Department
(seen by PCCF, Haryana Forest Department on 22.09.2012), has sent
some sort of a guidance note to implement the Lafarge Judgement of
the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 26.7.2011, in a time bound manner.
2. However, we are dismayed to state that the actual guidance letter that
was ultimately sent as a consequence of the above guidance note of
MoEF by PCCF Haryana to all DFOs (Territorial) signed by the
APCCF (Forestry) Haryana on 31.01.2012 (copy attached) has critical
omissions, that would definitely result in non-compliance of the
Judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated 26.07.2011.
3. The PCCF Haryana letter dated 31.01.2012 (a) restrictively interprets
deemed forests, with a narrow focus on lands notified under Sections
4 & 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, 1900, only, thus excluding
other Aravalli Project Treated Areas and the Rest of the Aravalli Hills,
and (b) fails to make any mention whatsoever about the all important
wildlife corridors as regards the preparation of the GIS data-base.
4. There are certain other serious omissions which are listed out
separately in remaining paragraphs.
5. If this so called guidance note is the only basis for the DFOs
(Territorial) in preparation of geo-referenced map and GIS database,
this will definitely lead to non-identification of most of the deemed
forests of the six districts of Aravalli Hills of Southern Haryana,
including Gurgaon and Faridabad. Also inter-district and inter-state
wildlife corridors would fail to be properly identified. Thus there is
prima facie risk of violation of the letter and spirit of the Lafarge
Judgement, if this situation is not immediately rectified as it is now
nearly one year and the judgement stated that it shall be implemented
within six months. Details are as follows.
6. Key elements of part II of the Lafarge judgement, emphasized by the
Secretary, MoEF in letter dated 05.09.2011, and directing compliance
a. That “each State/UT government, needs to complete the exercise
undertaken by them, in compliance of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s
order dated 12.12.1996 in the W.P. (Civil) No. 202 of 1995, to
identify the areas which are “forests” irrespective of whether they are
so notified, recognized, or classified under any law, and irrespective
of the land of such "forest" and the areas which were earlier "forests"
but stand degraded, denuded and cleared” (Part II (xii) of the
b. That “The exercise, as per the guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Court,
should culminate in preparation of a geo-referenced map
indicating the location and boundary of each plot of land that may be
defined as ‘forests’ for the purpose of the Forest Conservation Act
1980.” (Part II (xii) Lafarge)
c. Preparation of a flow chart by a process of joint consultation between
States and MoEF depicting, the tentative nature and manner of
incorporating the proposed safeguards, to eliminate chance of the
grant of Environment Clearance to projects involving diversion of
forest land by considering such forest land as non-forest. (Part II (xiii)
d. That Guidelines issued by the Hon’ble Supreme Court require the
creation and regular updating of a “GIS based decision support
database” by the States with assistance of MoEF. (Part II (vii)
e. That, the GIS data base should contain inter-alia the district-wise
details for 4 categories of information including “(iii) important
migratory corridor(s) for wildlife”. (Part II (vii) Lafarge)
7. Aravallis in Faridabad district of Southern Haryana may be divided
a. Notified under section 4 and 5
b. Planted in Aravalli Project
c. Regenerated in Aravalli project
d. Rest of the Aravalli areas (neither planted/regenerated under
Aravalli project, and not notified under section 4 and 5), that have
primary or secondary regenerating forest.
8. We are dismayed to state that that the APCCFs letter ignores the
primary instruction (at 6 a. above) to complete the exercise of
identifying deemed forests, irrespective of notification and current
condition (degraded, denuded and cleared). This is a pre-requisite
to preparing the geo-referenced map, and the GIS based database at 6
b. and 6 d. Instead, it focuses only on Sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab
Land Preservation Act 1900.
9. The narrow focus on Sections 4 & 5 (of PLPA), in the APCCF’s letter
dated 31.01.2012 thus excludes a large chunk of Aravalli areas.
10.In Mangar village (district Faridabad) alone, for example, only about
1/3 of the area is notified under section 4 & 5 of PLPA, and about 2/3
of village Aravalli hills areas (recorded as gair mumkin pahar) is not
The proposal for notification of this 2/3 area under
Section 4 & 5 of PLPA is pending with the Haryana Forest
Department/Govt. of Haryana.
11.There is extensive vegetation of trees, bushes and shrubs in nonSection 4 & 5 (PLPA) areas. While most are degraded due to mining
etc, heavily wooded and even pristine patches remain. The best
example is the sacred grove of Mangar Bani and its buffer – which is
dense forest but is not notified under Section 4 & 5 (PLPA). As per
the Lafarge judgement guidelines these areas – whether degraded or
not are categorically included as deemed forests.
12.Secondly, even while focusing on the aspects of GIS database, the
Haryana Forest Department APCCF letter dated 31.01.2012 fails to
mention the all important instruction for the incorporating districtwise details and the boundary of “(iii) important migratory corridor(s)
13.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 recently reported from Asola Bhatti
sanctuary in Delhi, is likely to have reached via the Faridabad
(Times of India 3.3.2012 – Bhatti Mines spring to life)
14.It is pertinent to state that the Faridabad Aravallis (including Mangar
Bani sacred grove) 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.
15.In Jan 2009 the minutes of a meeting of the Central Empowered
Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court and the Govt. of Haryana,
which were submitted to the Supreme Court, stated that the Mangar
Bani deemed forest should be acquired by the State Government as a
Reserve Forest/ Protected Forest.
16.Thus it seems on the one hand, the Government of Haryana and the
Haryana Forest Department is (1) keeping the proposal to notify the
rest of the Aravalli hills in Mangar village under Sections 4 & 5 of the
PLPA on hold, (2) is unwilling to identify the rest of the Aravalli
deemed forests and (3) is unwilling to identify the wildlife corridors,
and at the same time, despite letters from the DC and DFO Faridabad,
it is moving ahead with its plans to notify the draft Mangar DDP
2031, with its numerous gaps and flaws.
17.It seems that the Government of Haryana and the Haryana Forest
Department are hiding behind procedural delays and ambiguities,
while in the meantime real estate speculators are buying up the
Aravalli hills in anticipation of the Mangar DDP 2031.
18.Exploiting these delays in identifying deemed forests, there are
reportedly multiple RTIs being filed in the Faridabad DFO office
demanding to know which, if any, forest related laws are applicable
on Aravalli areas outside Sections 4 & 5, and what is the scope of the
powers of enforcement by Haryana Forest Department on such
19.This is rapidly leading to a fait accompli situation, wherein, property
prices in the Aravallis have double or tripled, with reports of large
scale land bank building by real estate firms, and numerous instances
of tree cutting wherein hundreds of trees have been cut in last one
year by paying a measly fine of approx. Rs 500/- to Rs 2000/- per tree
depending on species and girth class. This is allegedly being resorted
to in expectation/ anticipation of major windfall gains from land use
change basis lack of tree cover.
20.We fear, that in an area on the border of Delhi, within the buffer of the
Asola Sanctuary, that includes Mangar Bani one of the largest known
old growth and pristine sacred groves in the Aravalli hills, will be
irretrievably lost to real estate.
21.It may also be noted that 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 to have the force of law has
stipulated that forest cover in Haryana shall be 10 percent by 2010 and
20 percent by 2020, whereas the Forest survey of India Report 2011
has pegged forest cover in Haryana at 3.64 percent with Faridabad at
4.32 percent and Gurgaon at 8.35 percent, which is far below the
levels mandated in the Forest Policy.
22. As per the Forest Survey of India Report 2011 the categories of land
in Aravallis fall in five categories all of which are forest or deemed
forest as mandated in the Lafarge Judgement dated 26.07.2011:
(a) Very Dense Forest.
(b) Moderately Dense Forest.
(c) Open Forest.
23.The MoEF has not yet finalised comprehensive policy for inspection,
verification and monitoring and the overall procedure relating to the
grant of forest clearances and identification of forests in consultation
with the States (given that forests fall under entry 17A of the
Concurrent List). This may be finalised as early as possible. (Part II
24.Implementation of the Lafarge Judgement in letter and spirit, to
identify all deemed forests especially those falling in the Aravalli
hills, irrespective of notification, ownership, and current condition on
an urgent basis.
25.You are requested to kindly take note of points mentioned above and
kindly ensure preparation of national level and state
procedure for identifying deemed forests with expert and citizen
participation especially those falling in the Aravalli hills, irrespective
of notification, ownership, and current condition on an urgent basis.
make available latest FSI forest cover maps at district
level to DFOs to enable them to identify deemed forests
direct for identification of inter-district and inter-state
wildlife corridors including for lesser mammals such as
leopards, hyena, jackal etc.
freeze the Mangar DDP 2031 and keep it on hold till the
deemed forest guidelines per Lafarge judgement dated
26.07.2011 are issued and implemented in the Aravalli
Assessment and Environmental clearance for all Urban
Development/ Master Plans including the Mangar DDP
2031, before their publication,
given the critical importance of the eco-sensitive Haryana
Aravallis, being water recharge zone for water starved
Faridabad, Gurgaon and Delhi, wildlife corridor between
Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan and also being deemed
forest they should immediately be notified as a
permanent No-go Zone.
1. Sarvadaman Oberoi
Tower 1 Flat 1102, The Uniworld Garden,
Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018 Haryana INDIA
Mobile: +919818768349 Tele: +911244227522
2. Chetan Agarwal, Gurgaon,