Farmhouses rob 400 acres of Delhi’s forest

Posted on Apr 12 2014 - 6:47pm by admin

Darpan Singh

Source  Hindustan Times

Hundreds of acres of precious forest land have been lost to illegal farmhouses. The forest department has found at least 15 sprawling farmhouses and other such structures inside south Delhi’s Asola-Bhatti wildlife sanctuary.

One of the farmhouses that have sprung up inside the Asola-Bhatti wildlife sanctuary, according to the forest department. (HT photo)

The sanctuary is home to more than 250 species of plants, 200 species of birds, 150 species of butterflies and 10 species each of animals including nilgai, mongoose, fox, porcupine, hyena and jackal. The 6,814-acre sanctuary is part of the ecologically-critical Delhi Ridge whose destruction means desertification of Delhi, fall in its water table and more pollution.

The department insists this is just a “sample”; the actual number of illegal farmhouses could be more than 50. No construction can take place inside a wildlife sanctuary without the permission of National Board for Wildlife, headed by the PM.

These luxury homes have wiped out more than 400 acres — think 200 soccer fields — of forest land. Two such encroachments take up as much as 90 acres each. An acre of farmhouse land in south Delhi costs around Rs. 6  to Rs. 40 crore, depending on the location.



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