Monday, February 27, 2017

No action against green violations in Aravalis: RTI

Times of India‎‎‎‎: Gurgaon: Monday, February 27, 2017.
Only 565 environmental norm violations were reported in Gurgaon and Mewat areas of Aravali Hills between April 1992 and March 2015, and no action has been taken against any officials so far, according to an RTI reply.
Of the 565 violations, 524 were filed in the court, which hears complaints that allege violations of environmental norms in Gurgaon and Faridabad areas, while 41 plaints are still pending with various departments owing to non-availability of land ownership documents.
"As many as 565 violations have been noticed till March 2015 since the implementation of Aravali notification. But no action has been taken against any official yet under the provisions of Environment Act," states the RTI reply, a copy of which is with TOI. The report on violations in last two fiscal years - April 2015 till date - are not available, according to sources.
The violations that were spotted include non-forestry activities such as construction of boundary walls, felling of trees, construction of gate pillars and small sheds for shops, installation of tube wells and submersible pumps and landscaping.
"It is unbelievable that only 565 environmental violations were reported between 1992 and 2016. Violations such as construction of walls and tree felling are reported by newspapers almost every day. It shows that figures are false," said Aseem Takyar, a city-based activist.
Vivek Kamboj, a Gurgaon-based environmentalist, said some of the environmental violations are going unnoticed by the authorities. "Activists report violations almost on a daily basis. It shows that most cases go unreported as authorities are hand in glove with offenders," he said.
Environmentalists also raised their concerns over installation of tube wells in forest areas. "Apart from tree felling and illegal construction, installation of submersible pumps is also a concern. It is leading to depletion of groundwater in environmentally sensitive Aravalis," said Jitender Bhadana, a Faridabad-based environmentalist.
The May 1992 Aravali notification prohibits construction of dwelling units, farmhouses and sheds beside mining and tree felling in forest areas.