GURGAON: A civil court will on Wednesday hear a petition filed by a real estate company against villagers for allegedly encroaching upon its land, which falls under Mangar Bani, a sacred grove spread in an area of 350 acres in Faridabad, next to the Gurgaon border.
The case was filed on April 26, a day after the NCR Planning Board marked Mangar Bani area and a 500-metre buffer zone around it as a "no-construction zone".
In another petition, the same developer, along with some others, in the quasi judicial court of the local tehsildar has sought permission to convert the 'gair mumkin pahar' (uncultivable forested hills), as the land in the region is known as, into agricultural land. However, the villagers and environmentalists claim these court cases are an attempt to divert the forest area.
According to villagers, construction work that is at the centre of the litigation is taking place at temple that they claim is centuries old. "We were carrying out repairs as the old structure, which is more than 150 years old, was falling apart," said Sunil Harsana, a villager.
Environmentalist Chetan Aggarwal said, "Legally, the developer may challenge the claims of villagers in the court but the forest land can't be used by anyone, not even by a real estate developer for any construction purpose."
On Wednesday, the villagers will also have to file their response in the court on why they have been carrying out construction.
A local leader Naresh Sharma and son of state labour minister Shivcharan Sharma added, "The forest is a sacred place for the locals. No one does any construction here. We can't pluck even a leaf for our use. The current litigation is a ploy to harass the locals."