GURUGRAM: The Haryana government on Wednesday passed the controversial Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Act (PLPA), 2019 in the legislative assembly. The bill has opened thousands of acres that were protected as forest under PLPA since 1900.
TOI, on February 15, was first to report that the cabinet had given approval to the amendment bill. As per the amendment bill, PLPA will not be applicable in all the areas falling under master plans. Shockingly, the bill also provides sanction to the unauthorised constructions that came up after 1966 in the area falling under PLPA.
As 100 per cent area Gurugram and Faridabad district fall under different master plans, the two cities will lose precious forests to real estate development. It may have severe implications on the Delhi and NCR area which is already reeling under groundwater crisis and severe air pollution.
The bill has been opposed not just by the opposition – Congress, AAP and JJP, but also residents and environmentalists across the country. Two mega protests took place in Gurugram, in the last two weeks, against the amendments proposed by the state government.
Undeterred by the allegations by Congress MLAs, who accused the government of patronising builders and mining mafia, CM Manohar Lal Khattar justified the amendment by saying, "This was the demand of the day. As of now, we are faced with litigation for Kant Enclave and Huda sector. Nearly 16 districts are covered and we have become helpless, hence this amendment was necessary. We have taken care of protected areas," said CM Khattar.
With amendment of this bill, over 80,000 acres of protected land of PLPA Act would be available for builders as well as mining mafias, alleged the leader of opposition during the discussion on bill.