Haryana told to stop realty projects in Aravallis to save water

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Water scarcity has put a question mark on real estate projects in the Aravallis in the National Capital Region.

Union water resources ministry has asked Haryana to make ‘Bhood area’ an area in the foothills of Aravalli hill ranges covering districts of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Mewat, Rewari and Mahendragarh to be a no construction zone as it is an important groundwater recharge zone of NCR.

“I am given to understand that there is a proposal to convert Bhood land into real estate (projects). Earlier this issue was discussed in the NCR planning zone where (it was decided that) this area is to be protected,” said water resources secretary Shashi Shekhar. “So this should be a no-construction zone, preserved for groundwater recharge.”

Shekhar said he has advised Haryana government not to go ahead with the real estate projects in this area. “It is up to the state now to take a decision,” he said. He added Bhood area is a natural land for groundwater recharging, not only for Haryana but also for parts of Delhi and hence “it should be protected at all cost”.

“The idea is that they (Haryana) should take help of geologists, and convert and declare it as water sensitive zone,” the water secretary said, adding that he has sent the letter to Haryana chief secretary DS Dhesi.

Environment analyst Chetan Agarwal said Bhood refers to sand dune areas. Due to the loose nature of the soil they have high infiltration rates and are superior groundwater recharge areas.

However, the loose nature of the area also make it highly prone to erosion, so it is essential to protect them with tree and undergrowth, he said.

“In the 58 villages of Gurgaon, area under Bhood is approximately 1,700 hectare. However, only two of these 58 villages, has been included as natural conservation zone (NCZ) by the district administration,” said Agarwal.

Given the massive over extraction of groundwater in Gurgaon belt, it is all the more important to conserve the Bhood areas, particularly in the Aravalli foothills so that they can continue to recharge groundwater, prevent flooding and erosion, he said.

Agarwal said real estate firms have built up land banks in villages like Gwal Pahar, Bandhwari, Behrampur, Nainwal, Bhondsi and other Bhood area villages that come under any of Haryana’s various master plans.

Source: ET Realty


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