Protecting Deemed Forests in the Aravalli region of Faridabad District in Haryana.
Since 2007, Sanskara has been working to highlight the need to protect areas rich in biodiversity within the Aravalli range in Faridabad District, in particular ‘Mangar Bani’, which is considered a sacred grove. This region which covers about 500 acres of forest, is one of the last strongholds of a unique ecosystem. An endangered species of flora, ‘Dhau’ (Anogeisus pendula), that propagates through root fungi alone is still found here. This forest is also home to porcupines, partridges, peafowl, hare, jackal, mongoose and various species of birds amongst other wildlife.
Based on the need to protect this ecologically sensitive landscape, Sanskara submitted a petition by the local people of Mangar and adjoining villages, to the State of Haryana, with a copy to the Centrally Empowered Committee of the Hon. Supreme Court, in 2008, when we found out that a Dutch company in collaboration with the Government of Haryana was planning to convert the ‘forest’ into a ‘ techno park.’
On the 7th of January 2009, at a meeting with the State of Haryana and the Forest Survey of India regarding mining, colonization and related issues in the Aravalli Hills, it was agreed that the Ministry of Environment and Forests may consider the following category of site specific projects of public interest, on formal proposals filed by the State of Haryana, for approval under the FC Act subject to the payment of NPV, Compensatory Afforestation and other stipulations: (vii) Knowledge Corridor, excluding Deemed Forest Area of Mangar Bani in Mangar village, which the State Government should notify as Reserved / Protected Forest.
It has been observed that since the abstraction of ground water from deep mines for mining of silica, sand and other construction materials were banned in the area, the ground water level has increased. Thus, Mangar Bani could well be a catchment area for the surrounding villages in the Aravalli hill region of Faridabad District in Haryana.
The ecological conditions of the Mangar area can be improved sustainably for the future only if it is notified and protected under forest and wildlife laws, otherwise the conflicts between conservation and development will continue, violating the orders of the Honorable Supreme Court of India for the protection of the fragile Aravalli Hill region.
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On the 18th of February 2014, Sanskara submitted a letter to the Director General of Forests, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, requesting a site visit by them to establish that Mangar Bani is indeed an ecologically sensitive zone.
Sanskara continues to work with the local communities, State and Central authorities, Government of India, to secure the long term protection of the forest.
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