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Centre sought ‘water-sensitive’ tag in 2016

GURUGRAM: The Union water sources ministry had asked the Haryana government to stop building in the sandy foothills of Aravalis — referred to as ‘bhood’ in revenue records — two years in the past.
The Centre in 2016 had reiterated that the huge tracts of Aravali foothill land in Gurugram, Faridabad, Mewat, Rewari and Mahendragarh should be declared as water-sensitive zone, which is essential for recharging groundwater desk in all of the Delhi-NCR.

Shashi Shekhar, the then water sources secretary, said in a record that building activities should be stopped in spaces categorized as sandy Aravali foothills. “Haryana should take lend a hand of geologists and declare it as a water-sensitive zone,” he said.

Sandy foothills are discovered on the western flanks of the Aravalis. Villages like Bandhwari and Gwalpahari have considerable spaces categorized as sandy foothills. Gurugram has 1,113.28 hectares of such foothills. While Bandhwari has 287.22 hectares of foothill land, Sohna, Bhondsi and Gwalpahari have over 100 hectares.

Porous sandy foothills, according to professionals, have top infiltration stage, and therefore serve as an important groundwater recharge zone. “Such foothills act as good aquifers and percolate excess water flowing down from the rocky Aravalis all through monsoon, thereby recharging the groundwater,” said Vijay Dhasmana, an ecologist with iamGurugram, an NGO.

The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) had tagged all of the Gurugram and some blocks in Faridabad, Mewat, Rewari and Narnual as ‘darkish zone’. A ‘darkish zone’ is a space the place groundwater depletion exceeds the rate of recharging. According to an estimate, all of the Aravalis conserve over 20 lakh litres of water per hectare a year with just one-third of annual rainfall of 600 mm. The financial worth of the process of water recharge a year is round Rs. 25 lakh.

At present, round one lakh hectares of land fall below the Aravalis spread throughout five districts of southern Haryana. More than 25,000 hectares of land has been categorized as woodland below sections 4 and 5 of the Punjab Land Preservation Act, whilst round 62,000 hectares have been tagged as herbal conservation zone (NCZ). Another 12,800 hectare land in the hills has been put below the yet-to-be-decided NCZ category. Ambiguity over the standing of yet-to-be-decided category is resulting in degradation of the Aravalis, according to environmentalists.

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