NCR board upholds building curbs in Aravalis
The Haryana government’s proposal to do away with the restriction on property construction activities in ‘conservation zones’ across the National Capital Region was turned down by the planning committee of the NCR Planning Board on December 20.
Conservation zones cover forests such as Aravalis and water bodies, including the Yamuna bed and natural lakes like Damdama, Badkhal, etc.
Environment activists had opposed to Haryana’s move to delete the clause from regional plan which restricts construction activity to only 0.5% of owned land – that is, only 20 sq m in an acre. TOI has done a series of articles exposing the Haryana government’s move highlighting how this could give a body blow to the ecologically sensitive areas including Aravali and Yamuna riverbed.
Multiple sources confirmed TOI that Haryana’s proposal faced objection from people including officials who attended the planning committee meeting on December 20. It was attended by top officials from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Union urban development ministry. “The deleted clause in the draft regional plan will be brought back since one of the main thrust of revising the plan is to make the region sustainable,” said an official who was present in the meeting.
The original plan 2021 says that recreational activities with no construction exceeding 0.5% of the area are allowed with the permission of the competent authority.
Though officials did not spell out what would be the relaxation for more construction since Haryana has planned a mega tourism complex on 500-acre in Mangar area, sources said that there could be a provision under which the state government has to take statutory forest and environmental clearances from the Central government. “These are tough conditions. The minutes of the meeting will bring more clarity on all these issues,” said an official.
However, those fighting for conservation of Aravali forests opposed any relaxation to allow construction in conservation zones. “Construction and conservation are either-or activities. Even a half acre farmhouse will lead to fragmentation – as construction will lead to roads, electricity and more construction. The revised regional plan 2021 should be unequivocal in zoning the natural conservation zones as no-construction zones, in which change of land use are not issued,” said SS Oberoi of Mission Gurgaon Development.
Earlier documents obtained by Oberoi under RTI had exposed Haryana’s move at the NCR Planning Board meeting on June 4, 2013. According to the minutes of the meeting, “Financial commissioner and principal secretary, town and country planning department, government of Haryana suggested that natural conservation zone [para 17.5.3 (iv)] relating to regional/ recreational activities, restricted constructions of 0.5% may be deleted.”
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