The NGT has sought an action take report from the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Haryana (‘PCCF’) after finding that the Central Industrial Security Force (‘CISF’), Commandment, Gurugram was illegally setting up a paramilitary camp in village Mandawar, Gurgaon on Aravalli forest land without taking prior approval from the Central Government as required under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
The Petition had been filed in November, 2019 by Ram Avtar Yadav, a local resident and environmental activist and represented by Advocate Rahul Choudhary. The Petition stated that the CISF was illegally clearing the land and cutting trees to set up the paramilitary camp on 260 acres of forest land, which also forms a part of the ecologically sensitive Aravalli hills as well as an important wildlife habitat for leopards. The Divisional Forest Officer, Gurugram had also sent a letter to the CISF Commandment, Gurugram and the Director General, CISF stating that the clearing of the land and setting up of the camp constituted a ‘non-forest activity’ for which prior approval had to be taken under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
The matter was initially heard on 29th November, 2019 and a factual report was sought from the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (HoFF), Haryana on the allegations raised by the Applicant. The Report confirmed the allegations that no proposal for the use of the forest land had been submitted by CISF under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 nor was prior permission taken from the Divisional Forest Officer, Gurugram for the cutting of trees. The report also stated that, ‘the landscape is undulating with good vegetation cover and biodiversity. This is also part of wildlife corridor of leopard in Aravallis.’
The Bench comprising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Sheo Kumar Singh and Dr. Nagin Nanda took the report on record and directed that no “non forest activity” would be allowed in the forest area without following the due process of law and sought a further action taken report from the PCCF.