In response to complaints filed by a social activist of Manesar, National Green Tribunal (NGT) has put brakes on the hand over of 65 acres of forest land at Sehrawan to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
NHAI wanted to acquire the land to set up new toll booths after Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced the shifting of toll booths to Sehrawan, 11 km from Kherki Daula. NHAI had thus appealed to Gurgaon administration for the transfer of the land.
The toll booth at Kherki Daula, used by those commuting between Gurgaon and Manesar, is often the site of massive traffic queues.
The NGT sent notices to NHAI, forest department and other respondents to be present for the next hearing, scheduled for next week.
Sanjiv Singla, sub divisional magistrate (SDM), Gurgaon north, said, “We have not seen the NGT notice till now.”
“We will go to any extent to save 65 acres of valuable forest land. We doubt the intentions of Haryana government and the centre — where in the country is 65 acres of land required for building of toll booths. The government is set on destroying the forest land of Manesar and Sehrawan — the only safe place for wild animals to graze. We hope the NGT will do justice,” stressed Ramavtar Yadav, who filed the complaint with the NGT.
Manesar panchayat, which owns up to 59 acres of the 65 acres, had initially consented to leasing out the land to NHAI, but later villagers held a meeting of the Gram Sabha, and decided against it.
Residents got support from others activists in their fight to save sacred forest land.
“We raised questions about Gurgaon administration’s repeated attempts to take possession of 65 acres of the Aravalli forest land in violation of the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act,” said Vivek Kamboj, founder director of Hariyali, an NGO.