Gurugram: Hundreds of residents, on Sunday morning, mourned the slow death of Aravali hills and took out a symbolic funeral procession in Gurugram to register their protest and demand repeal of the amended Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 2019 by the Haryana Government.
In February last year, the Haryana Government passed the legislation, PLPA, 2019, that opened up thousands of acres of protected forest land for real estate development. Against this backdrop, the concerned citizens resorted to this novel way of protest against the legislation to draw the attention of the government.
People from all walks of lives dressed up in white clothes their sombre mood participated in the procession holding aloft placards, banners and posters raising slogans like 'Withdraw PLPA', 'Aravali Bachao', etc. They warned of the serious environmental consequences if the government did not retreat.
They highlighted the potential consequences of depleting green cover of the city. The grieving protesters demanded immediate withdrawal of PLPA, which was passed by the state government last year.
The procession set off from Sikanderpur metro station and culminated at MG Road metro station drawing the attention of the passersby along the way.
Pointing out that at a time when the state has the lowest forest cover in the country and the city is reeling under severe air pollution, Aravali hills functions as the green lung of the city.
“We all want an immediate withdrawal of the PLPA that seeks to open 60,000 acres of Aravali land and 10,000 acre land of Shivalik hills to building and construction purposes. This certainly is not in great good of the people,” said Vaishali Rana, an environmentalist.
She pointed out that Gurugram, which happens to be among the most polluted cities in the world, needs no more concretised buildings, but more forest cover and clean air to breathe.
Illegal construction and rampant exploitation of Aravali are proving a death knell for the forests. Elaborating on the subject, Vinita Singh, a resident of sector 50, narrated how the residents are suffering from deterioration of Aravali hills.
“The city is no longer habitable... We are gasping for cleaner air... Aravali is the only saviour... we would like to preserve it at any cost,” she asserted.
She underscored the need for a review of the amendment. "It should not be implemented before taking into consideration the genuine grievances of the public and the impending consequences thereof," she said
The demands of the protesters include enhanced forest cover in the state by 5 per cent.
“The state has a low forest cover. We want the government to set a target of 5 per cent more forest cover,” Singh added.