A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directedChief Secretary of Haryana to take appropriate remedial action in accordance with law within three months, including meaningful legal action against the erring officers and ensuring that such illegalities are not repeated.
There is blatant violation of law in using forest land for non-forest purposes without requisite prior clearance. No State governed by rule of law ought to shut its eyes to such patent illegalities, the bench said.
The tribunal was perusing a report filed byPrincipal Chief Conservator of Foreststhat there is no negligence on the part of the forest officers as correspondence was pending on the subject at different levels.
The NGT had earlier perused a report filed by the chief conservator of forest (FCA), Panchkula that a proposal has been moved on January 23, 2020 to the government for diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes.
The report further mentions that the following amounts will be deposited after in-principle approval of proposal by the Ministry of Environment and Forests -- Rs 27,10,47752 for compensatory afforestation, Rs 2,11,72690 for Net Present Value, Rs 2,11,72690 for penalty for violation which amounts to a total of Rs 31,33,93132.
The tribunal, however, had said, "While the above action may have been now taken, the fact remains that law has been blatantly violated for which accountability needs to be fixed. Let such action be ensured by the chief secretary, Haryana and an action-taken report furnished before the next date by email."
The NGT earlier had sought a "factual and action-taken report" from the Haryana forest department in the matter.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Manesar resident Ram Avatar Yadav alleging illegal construction in Aravali forest for development of a police training centre at Bhondsi, Gurgaon.
The petition claimed unauthorised constructions on land notified under sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA), 1900, which is to be considered and protected as forest land, according to the Supreme Court.
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