SC Order on PLPA: Government and private sector facilities at risk of demolition

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As the Supreme Court ordered the removal of illegal structures on land covered by the Special Orders under Section 4 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) in Haryana, a large number of Government and private sector facilities are at risk of demolition in 14 districts. . Special orders issued under Article 4 of the PLPA mentioned specific Khasra numbers as well as the name of the district, tehsil and village, while general orders issued under Article 4 did not mention any specific Khasra numbers, but only district, tehsil and village name.

The Supreme Court, in its July 21 judgment, ruled that the lands covered by the special orders issued under section 4 of the PLPA will have all the attributes of forest land within the meaning of section 2 of the Act of 1980 on the conservation of forests. “Therefore, the state government or the competent authority cannot authorize its use for non-forestry activities without the prior approval of the central government from October 25, 1980. Prior authorization of the central government is the quintessence to authorize any change of use. of forest or so to speak of reputed forest land. We may add here that even during the term of special orders under PLPA Section 4, with the approval of the Central Government, the State or an appropriate authority may grant permission for non-forestry use”, said the SC bench.

The Supreme Court ordered the authorities concerned to take measures to remove the remaining illegal structures located on the lands covered by the special orders and used for non-forestry activities on the said lands erected after October 25, 1980, without the prior approval of the central government. He also ordered the restoration of the status quo ante, including the adoption of reforestation or afforestation programs, as soon as possible.

Facilities under demolition

Forestry officials however began the exercise to identify facilities prohibited from all non-forestry activities under the PLPA Section 4 Special Order, they said Sectors 21, 24, 26, 27, 37 and 38 in Faridabad, Manav Rachna University in Faridabad, Aravalli International School in Faridabad, Gymkhana Club in Faridabad, IT Parks which appeared in Gwal Pahari area in Gurugram, Tata Energy Research Institute, Gwal Pahari in Gurugram, National Institute of Solar Energy, Gwal Pahari, Gurugram were likely to fall under CS judgment.

According to an affidavit submitted by the Forestry Department to the Supreme Court, a number of critical establishments were notified under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the PLPA. These included CRPF Group Center at Pinjore, Indira Gandhi Thermal Super Power Plant at Jharli at Jhajjar, BPS Government Medical College at Sonepat District, IMT Manesar at Gurugram, Garrisson National Security Guard at Gurugram, SHKM Government Medical College, Nalhar in Nuh. “There are many critical establishments notified under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the PLPA. However, we need to elaborate and specify the lands notified by a special order under PLPA Section 4 restricting non-logging activity,” an official said. They said the central government had also authorized the diversion of a number of plots of land notified under Sections 4 and 5 in Gurugran, Faridabad, Panchkula and Mewat.

“Land under the special order of section 4 would be insignificant”

The court said that the special orders under sections 4 and 5 of the PLPA relating to 22 districts of Haryana, including the districts of Gurugram and Faridabad, only cover an area of ​​31,738 hectares, out of a total area of 44.21,200 hectares. “In at least eight districts, not a single piece of land is covered by special orders under sections 4 and 5. As a result, only around 7.1% of the total land in 22 districts is covered by special orders issued under sections 4 and 5 of the PLPA. . Based on these figures of the lands covered by the special orders under sections 4 and 5, the percentage of the lands covered by the special orders under section 4 must be insignificant in relation to the total area of ​​the districts”, said the SC.

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