New Delhi, April 17: Yes, it actually sounds bizarre, but it is true. You can now own a dense forest, lake or a hill top in the Aravalis of Haryana.
Forget about budget homes or premium homes, now one can own a lake such as Damdama or Dhauj and even a part of Mangar Bani, the largest surviving sacred grove in the NCR.
According to TOI report, this is all possible because major portion of this ecological hotspot, which was once common land, has been privatized in the past 30-35 years.
It is reported that the real estate players have lured several gram sabhas to convert the common land, including forest areas or water bodies, into private properties. The report further said that legal loopholes in the Punjab Village Common Lands Act of 1961 were used to facilitate these transfers.
"Private players guided and drove the process, attracted by the prospect of picking up huge patches of land next to Delhi for a pittance. Once the undivided common lands were privatized and sold, these were then partitioned into plots etc by a misuse of the Consolidation Act," says the report.
"Uncultivable tracts outside habitable areas were traditionally kept as panchayat land, meant for common use such as grazing. Later, the gram sabhas passed resolutions to convert them into another form of collective property called shamlat deh, giving villagers the right to sell these lands to individuals," a retired revenue official has been quoted as saying in the report.