Courtesy : TNN
Haryana government on Tuesday informed Punjab and Haryana high court that the ministry of defence is fully empowered to remove encroachments around defence establishments in Gurgaon and Faridabad and the state would provide all kind of assistance in this regard. These submissions were made by the state in response to the issue related to encroachments in restricted zones of the Air Force station in Gurgaon and Faridabad.
On October 6, the high court had made it clear that it would accept the proposal of reducing restricted zone around Indian Air Force (IAF) ammunition depot in Gurgaon from 900 to 300 metres, only if the state government undertakes to vacate the encroachments within 300 metre area.
Responding to HC query, the state government submitted before the court on Tuesday that it is ready to extend all kind of assistance and help to central government or the defence authorities in removing encroachments within the reduced area of 300 metres around the IAF station in Gurgaon and Faridabad.
On a plea of some residents living around air force station in Gurgaon seeking directions to provide power connections, the HC refused to pass any order and adjourned the matter for December 22 for further hearing.
On September 7, the central government had submitted before the HC that the restricted zone around ammunition depot of Indian Air Force in Gurgaon has been decided to be decreased from 900 to 300 metres. The Centre, however, had made it clear that the area of restricted zone around air force station in Faridabad shall remain 100 metres only.
The matter is pending before the HC in the wake of a petition filed against the encroachment around prohibited zones of the Air Force stations in both Gurgaon and Faridabad.
The matter had reached before the Punjab and Haryana high court through a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Suresh Goyal of Faridabad seeking removal of constructions from 100-metre area around Air Force station, Dabua in Faridabad and construction within 900 metres around air force station Gurgaon.
Following the intervention of HC, a six-member committee of central and state government officers headed by additional secretary, Union ministry of urban development, had suggested to reduce the restricted zone around air force station, Gurgaon.
The Central government on Monday submitted before the Punjab and Haryana high court that the restricted zone around Indian Air Force’s ammunition depot in Gurgaon has been reduced to 300 metres from 900.
After additional solicitor general of India Satya Pal Jain told the HC during the hearing of a petition filed against encroachments around prohibited zones of the IAF stations at Gurgaon and Faridabad, the court directed the Central government to file an affidavit on this decision.
Jain, however, submitted that the area of restricted zone in Faridabad will remain the present 100 metres only. The case would now come up for further hearing on October 9. The court had on July 17 asked Centre to take a decision on the recommendations of a six-member committee that suggested reducing the restricted zone of 900 metre radius around the ammunition deport in Gurgaon.
In November last year, the committee of central and state government officers, headed by additional secretary, Union ministry of urban development, had informed the court that radius of the restricted zone could be reduced 500 to 600 metres. The committee, comprising experts from various central ministries and Haryana government, was formed in March 2014 following orders from the HC to discuss and suggest solutions to the encroachment problem.
The two lakh residents living in the area within 900 metres surrounding the IAF ammunition depot failed to get any relief from the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday. The court postponed the matter for hearing on July 17.
According to the area councillor who was present in the court, Gaje Singh Kablana, the judge deferred the matter after the counsel representing the Centre informed the court that the decision on the issue is yet to be taken by the Cabinet, and sought three months’ time.
Residents complained that despite assurances from the chief minister, the case is yet to be resolved. “The chief minister, local MLAs and the MP keep talking about the possibility of reaching a decision favourable to residents, but the court has still not given its final verdict. The court keeps postponing the hearing as the government has failed to make its stand clear. It appears that both the state and the central government want to keep lingering since this 900 metre issue can be used in future to garner votes as has been done in the past as well,” said Mukesh Kumar, a Palam Vihar extension resident.
Later in the day some of the area residents met BJP president Amit Shah in Delhi, who assured them that he will come into this matter.
The district administration has asked Maruti Udyog Ltd to submit land ownership documents of its plant located on the old Delhi-Gurgaon Road.
The information, according to officials in the administration, has been sought “urgently” from the car manufacturer as part of the exercise to survey installations within a 900-metre-radius of the IAF ammunition depot, an area classified as restricted but now home to thousands of families nevertheless.
Officials said portions of the plant come within that zone and the information had been sought to ascertain how much area it stands to lose even if the ambit of the restricted area is reduced from 900 metres to 300, as has been suggested by a committee appointed by the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The next court hearing is on February 9. “We have asked Maruti officials to submit information regarding ownership of land as some of its area falls within the restricted zone. Once we have that, we will know how much area the plant could lose in case the high court directs us to reduce the restricted area to 300 metres,” said a senior district official.
A spokesperson for Maruti said, “We have responded to the state authorities with the requested documents.”
The administration is hoping for an amicable solution. “All the district heads feel that even if the area is reduced to 300 metres, around 634 acres of land will have to be acquired, apart from paying a compensation of Rs 3,500 crore to those residents who will have to be relocated. This is a huge figure, and therefore, not workable. We hope the high court orders that the ammunition depot be shifted from its present location,” said another official.