Despite notices and threats from authorities, the farmhouses remain and the area’s forest cover shrinks.
By Ayush Tiwari & Basant Kumar, Newslaundry
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As a counter to the accusations of illegal construction, farmhouse owners of Raisina hill have attempted to secure immunity from EPA. They’ve pointed to the altered status of the hill in traditional revenue records, which date back to undivided Punjab, from before 1947.
Among the five categories of land protected by the Aravalli notification is “gairmumkin pahar”, or uncultivable mountain. Certain areas in Gurugram (then Gurgaon), like the hill in Raisina, were classified as “gairmumkin pahar” in revenue records as of May 7, 1992.
However, in the mid-2000s, in the case of Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd & Ors vs Haryana State Pollution Board, it emerged that the status of the Raisina hill in Haryana’s revenue records was not “gairmumkin pahar”, but “gairmumkin farmhouse”. The change allegedly occurred in 1991.
The farmhouse owners took this distinction to court and argued that the Aravalli notification did not cover their properties, and they deserve immunity from prosecution under the EPA.