Gurgaon: Construction activities are still going on in the protected Raisina hills of the Aravalis even though show-cause notices were issued to the owners of over 150 farmhouses last week.
A visit to the site on Wednesday showed that construction was underway at six sites in Ansals Aravali Retreat, involving the clearing of land, digging of borewell and removal of vegetation. Trees have also been bulldozed to widen a pathway in some of the farmhouses.
The area in question is ‘gair mumkin pahar’ (uncultivable hill) and thus is notified under Section 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), which prohibits tree felling without permission. Under the Union environment ministry’s Aravali Notification, ‘gair mumkin pahad’ is protected land where construction of buildings, roads, electrification and cutting of trees is not allowed without permission.
A large double-story structure is under construction at D-4 in Ansals Aravali Retreat. At a second site, a wall is being constructed. Similarly, in E-10 and E-11, the digging process of the bore well is in operation. The area falls under the ‘dark zone’ where the groundwater table is depleting every year. In Sohna, the groundwater was at 23.56 meters in 2018, 25.97 meters in 2019 and 26.11 in 2020. The Ansal Aravali Retreat is located in the Sohna area of the district where the groundwater was at 23.56 meters in 2018, 25.97 meters in 2019 and 26.11 in 2020.
Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) has declared Gurgaon as a dark zone, illegal groundwater extraction is being carried out blatantly. According to the authority, the groundwater extraction rate in Gurgaon is 308%.
“It is surprising that the construction of buildings and digging for borewell is active in the area even after the show-cause notice and demolition drive by the municipal council,” said SS Oberoi, an environmentalist.
A demolition drive was carried out on February 18 where 15 structures were demolished. The municipal council in Sohna last week has sent show-cause notices to around 150 farmhouses in the Raisina eco-sensitive Aravalis area. According to the council, the farmhouse owners have been given one week notice to respond.
When approached, Sohna Municipal Council officials said they will investi-gate the matter against the violators. “We are in the process of sending some more show-cause notices. We will analyse the letters and thereafter we will take action accordingly. We will investigate into the matter of illegal construction and digging for borewell in the area,” said Sandeep Mallik, executive officer, Sohna Municipal Council.