Gurgaon is one of the most polluted cities in India. It is in the top 10. We had only 3 days of clean air in the year 2018. Gurgaon earns 60% revenue for Haryana State.
Haryana has the lowest forest cover in the country. It was second lowest, but has slipped to lowest in the last 4 years after the Punjab government took positive steps to improve the green cover in their state.
Our Forest minister Rao Narbir Singh says it’s his “misfortune” that he is the Forest Minister of Haryana.
And it is Gurgaon resident’s misfortune that this government neither has the intent of improving the air quality nor does it understand the responsibility it has towards the health of its citizens.
The Haryana government has proposed an amendment to the Punjab Land Protection Act. This amendment will make 20,000 acres of Aravalli forest in Gurgaon and Faridabad open for construction.
What is the intent behind this amendment? Is the government trying to help builders who have grabbed forest land and built colonies like Kant enclave which the Supreme Court had ordered to be demolished? Is this a plan to seek funds for re-election? Many acres of land are already available outside the Aravallis for development, commercialization and building concrete jungles. Why must the Aravallis be destroyed???
The Aravallis are one of the oldest hills in India. 31 hills have disappeared from the face of the earth in the past decade. The Forest department -Police- Government- Illegal Miner’s nexus are destroying our hills and will bring about desertification of Haryana in our life time. Climate change is real, and its surprising that the government cares so little about it.
A few months back the National Highways Authority of India had made a plan to build a road connecting Delhi and Gurgaon right through the heart of the only forest left in Gurgaon: the Aravalli Biodiversity Park. Citizens groups and school students demonstrated vociferously against this decision and the permission for the same was revoked.
The government continues to use words like development to show its concern for the future. The Indian lawmakers refuse to take lessons from the rest of the world in Sustainable development, and reducing our carbon footprint. The world is moving towards green fuels, green cities, allowing forests to reclaim land ; even poor countries like Kenya are making strides towards reforestation. But in India, our government thinks roads and buildings are the only development we need, giving scant regard for the poor air quality indices and the fact that destroying the environment is killing its people.
Respiratory disease is affecting one out four children below five years of age. Air pollution is causing 27% more deaths due to Heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Living in the national capital region is reducing our lifespan by 5 years. Citizens can make a slight impact by saying NO to plastic, by segregating waste and in house composting, and using public transport where possible.
The Haryana Government which has the power to make policies and create a lasting impact on environment has done nothing to stop burning of harvested fields; Nothing to encourage solar power generation in homes and commercial establishments; NOTHING to improve the green cover of Haryana and raise it from the measly 3%. Gurgaon is the goose that lays the golden egg of highest revenue for the state, and the Haryana government is hell bent of killing our air quality by sacrificing the Aravallis for their vested interests.
Urge all citizens to speak up against this amendment of the Punjab Land Protection Act (PLPA) and pressurize the government to stop this attempt to murder Gurgaon.
ENT Surgeon & Allergy Specialist