Haryana demarcates Mangar Bani forest area

It is an exercise to protect the Aravalli mountain range

February 05, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 07:56 am IST - GURGAON:

Activists welcome government’s move.— File Photo

Activists welcome government’s move.— File Photo

Taking a step towards protecting the Aravalli mountain range, the Haryana government has identified the Mangar Bani on scientific principles.

As per the exercise carried out by the forest department, the Mangar Bani area has been found to be about 677 acres and the 500-metre buffer will have about 1,200 acre, however abadi areas of the village will be excluded.

The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB) had earmarked the Mangar Bani grove in Haryana as “no-construction zone” and said that it would be out of bounds for tourism activities. The decision was taken in a meeting in May 2014. The move had come following strong protests from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, the Delhi government and environmentalists.

Besides the core area of Mangar Bani, the NCRPB had decided that a 500-metre buffer radius around the forest will also be earmarked as “no-construction zone”, as proposed by Haryana. The NCRPB members had also agreed to limit construction activities in the natural conservation zones such as the Aravallis, riverbeds and major water bodies, according to the minutes of the last board meeting, chaired by the then Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath.

Though the Mangar Bani was declared “no construction zone”, the Haryana government was dilly-dallying on measuring the total area of the Mangar Bani and the buffer zone. It has now been done with the intervention of the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.

The initiative of the current government to conserve the Mangar Bani in the Aravalli hills, is a step in the right direction and is very welcome, said Lt. Col SS Oberoi, legal activist.

“This is a welcome move to demarcate the Mangar Bani and its buffer on scientific principles, as a No Construction Zone, particularly the numerous flip flops of the earlier government since 2009. The time has come to notify Mangar Bani as a Sanctuary or National Park to accord permanent protection for future generations,” said environment analyst Chetan Agarwal.

Following the measurement, the Harayana government would now have to revise its sub-regional plan as well.

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