NEW DELHI: The change of government in Haryana seems to have had no impact on its bureaucracy so far as its stand on pushing construction in national conservation zones (NCZs) like Aravalis is concerned.
While agreeing to treat the entire hill range in NCR as Aravalis during the last NCR Planning Board meeting, Haryana’s country planning department red-flagged the provision in the regional plan to restrict construction in NCZs to only 0.5%.
The regional plan notified in 2005 had defined NCZs and put this restriction on construction and that too only for recreation activities.
According to the minutes of the board’s meeting, accessed by TOI, Haryana’s additional chief secretary in-charge of town and country planning department stuck to his argument that since areas under NCZs were to be governed by various statutes, rules and notifications of the central government, hence the provision of 0.5% restriction in construction should not be applicable.
“Such zoning regulations of Regional Plan-21 (such as restricting only 0.5% of construction, that also for recreational activities) should not be made applicable since this is an additional restriction. In order to avoid any ambiguity, a clear decision needs to be arrived at,” the minutes recorded the Haryana official as saying. The board decided that Haryana government may make a clear reference on the matter and that will be considered separately.
The state bureaucracy had tried its best during the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government to do away with the provision of limited construction in the NCZs. Though it had brought up this issue several times before the board, it did not succeed because of huge protests from green activists and even the bold stand taken by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Conservation of Aravalis received a major boost when Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar took an aerial survey of the region and made a commitment to protect it.
Sources said despite this stand of the chief minister, some of Haryana’s top officials have raised in meetings that restrictive clauses on construction don’t apply to Aravalis in Faridabad. Revenue officials admit that every inch of Aravalis in Faridabad has been privatised in the past 15-20 years and an impartial investigation may expose who all have bought huge tracts of land in the hills.
“It’s not just realtors who have bought land for building farmhouses and other projects. There could be benami properties. The CM should order a probe into the land deals,” a revenue department official said.
Credits ET Realty