Haryana Assembly Amends 118-Yr-Old Act To Allow Construction In Aravali; SC Stays The Decision
Punjab land preservation (Haryana amendment) bill was passed on Wednesday, 27 Feb 2019, in the state assembly. This bill amends the 118-year-old act, which restricts the construction and other activities in the large region of the Aravallis. Opposition Parties leaders protested against the bill and demanded the formation of an all-party action committee to scrutinise the bill. But, the Khattar’s government overruled the opposition demand and passed the amendment bill. This bill does not just allow the construction in Aravali and NCR region but it also amends the bill with the retrospective effects from 1966.
Few days after the amendment, the Apex court slammed the Haryana Government’s action and called it “obnoxious and contemptuous” while putting a stay order at the decision.
“Prima facie it seems to be highly obnoxious and contemptuous. It is the violation of the court’s orders. If you have enacted such law then you are in trouble. It is not permissible. You cannot get rid of a judicial order. You are not supreme and supreme is the law of the country,” the bench said.
This amendment also permits the Kant enclave’s construction which was ordered to bulldoze by the supreme court in last year. Kant enclave was constructed on the PLPA land in Faridabad.
Reportedly, The orders and notifications issued under section 4 or section 5 of the act. This extends over an area of about 10,94,543 hectares which equals to the 25 per cent of the total area of the state (approx). This notification covers the 14 out of 22 districts and almost the entire districts of Gurugram, Rewari and Mahendergarh are covered under PLPA.
“I opposed this amendment in the assembly. The worst thing with this amendment, that they amend it retrospectively to 1966. Now, mining mafia, the land mafia will intrude in the Aravali range” said Kiran Choudhary, Congress legislature leader.
She reinforced her point and said Aravali ecosystem is one of the oldest range of the world. Congress tried to save the bill. When I was forest minister we formed the National Conversation Zone (NCZ) but now this amendment will affect it. This government is only favouring their mates.
This amendment was passed after the Apex court ordered the Rajasthan government to shut down the illegal mining units in 48 hours after the court was told 38 hill were disappeared due to mining which increasing the pollution in North India including the national capital.
Environmentalists are claiming that after this amendment, rampant construction and illegal activities will initiate in this region. This will create the ecological imbalance in Aravali and its nearby region. This will also impact on the groundwater level in this region which is already very low.
— Save Aravali Trust (@SaveAravali) February 28, 2019
Reportedly, Citizen of Gurugram and Faridabad protested against this bill with banners of “No Aravalis no vote.”
“It was extremely disheartening to see the govt pass such legislation when the air quality in Gurgaon is so alarming. Gurgaon has likely been reduced only to the cyber city and SEZ with little importance to the environment. The forest is not the first thing, water shortage in Gurgaon is an age-old issue. I myself moved to Gurgaon 2 years ago only to discover I’m allergic to the air here.” Said Bhumika Sharma, resident of Gurugram.
— Gargi Rawat (@GargiRawat) February 24, 2019
(Amit Pandey is a Researcher working with Abhishek Ranjan, Research & Policy Analyst at Office of MP Ninong Ering)