DELHI: The Haryana government has put an end to the farmhouse culture on the eve of World Environment Day. In a decision which will hit the lifestyles and ambitions of several rich and elite residents of the Millennium City, the government on June 4 decided to stop issuing change of land use (CLU) licences for farmhouses in agricultural zones falling under highly sensitive zones.
Agriculture land in the National Capital Region (NCR) – particularly around Aravali – is considered a highly sensitive zone. Officials in the department of town and country planning (DTCP) said the decision was taken considering the misuse of farmhouses for commercial activities.
Present norms for CLU licences for farmhouses would continue for ‘medium and low sensitive zones’. With this order, the government has ended the possibility of regularization of illegal farmhouses owned by the rich and famous in NCR. Around 400 farmhouse owners in Gurgaon and Faridabad districts are facing criminal prosecution for violation of various environment laws following cases filed in 2006 by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) after an order of the Supreme Court’s green bench to protect the fragile Aravalis.
Anurag Rastogi, director general of DTCP, said new guidelines related to the CLU and low-density housing have been put on the official website. New policy aims was to promote planned development of “low-density eco-friendly colonies”. According to the new guidelines, the CLU licences for such colonies will be issued to companies having a minimum of 100 acres of land. It also says that a low-density colony should have a minimum area of 1 acre for 25 occupants. Those developing such colonies will have to largely use non-conventional sources for power and water supply. Besides, the licences will not be issued in sensitive blocks identified by the Central Groundwater Board and other agencies. The policy also bars occupants from using the premises for commercial activities and allowed a portion of the colony to be earmarked for eco-friendly commercial activities.
Haryana’s main opposition party INLD has termed the policy as a move targeted to help realty giants and corporates which were allotted land in SEZs. “This is not surprising at all. All this has been done to facilitate corporate houses which had acquired land under the garb of SEZ,” INLD’s chief spokesman R S Chaudhary said.