Gurugram: Razed Aravali farmhouses had jacuzzis, lounges – ET RealEstate

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GURUGRAM: Lush green lawns, badminton courts, jacuzzis, open gyms and lounges, the government team bringing down illegal farmhouses in the Bandhwari area for the last three days discovered that the two biggest premises, which they took the bulldozers to on Friday, were also the most luxuriously appointed.

Built across two levels, they had all modern amenities and were being used as retreats where one could go to spend some time in the lap of nature for up to Rs 15,000 a night. Action will be initiated against both the developers and owners of these farmhouses, officials said.

The government moved in to demolish the farmhouses, around 50 of them and all built on protected land, after TOI reported on August 25 that an entire hill had been flattened to build an approach road to this farmhouse colony, 1.5km off the Gurugram-Faridabad road.

Gurugram: Razed Aravali farmhouses had jacuzzis, lounges
“The three-day long demolition drive has ended. Some of the structures were very strong and it took us an entire day to demolish just one,” said district town planner S Batth, who led a joint team of MCG and the department of town and country planning (DTCP).

Gurugram: Razed Aravali farmhouses had jacuzzis, lounges
While some of the razed farmhouses were ready-to-move-in, others were at different stages of construction. The two demolished on Friday, for instance, had tie-ups with global accommodation sites and were being used as retreats. These were sold as plotted land and secured with boundary walls by as part of ‘Rose Valley Farms’ project, officials said.

Gurugram: Razed Aravali farmhouses had jacuzzis, lounges
Rose Valley Farms had come to the notice of the authorities way back in 2015. “MCG had then issued notices to the developers, but there was no follow-up action. And over the years, more farmhouses were constructed. The illegal colony also came to the notice of DTCP last year and we had even recommended filing of an FIR,” said Batth.

Gurugram: Razed Aravali farmhouses had jacuzzis, lounges
“We are going to file a chargesheet, based on our last year’s complaint. Along with the farmhouse owners, the developers will also be prosecuted for violation of urban area norms. The construction was carried out without the change of land use and the approval of the building plan. We are also trying to find out the ownership pattern of the land and how the same was sold to individual owners,” he added.

Gurugram: Razed Aravali farmhouses had jacuzzis, lounges
“We have seized records showing some of the farmhouses had tie-ups with an online accommodation platform. They would charge up to Rs 15,000 a night,” said another DTCP official.

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Land registries of illegal farmhouses in Aravali done before construction – ET RealEstate

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GURUGRAM: Most farmhouse owners managed to get land registries done before the illegal construction of their properties began over 40 acres of land in the protected Aravali areas of Bandhwari, where an entire hill was flattened to build an approach road.

This once again brings the focus on local tehsil offices, which are under a government probe. The Haryana government had last month stopped registries when a spike in illegal land registries was noticed during the lockdown.

It subsequently ordered a probe, suspended six revenue officials in Gurugram and made sweeping changes in the registration process to plug the loopholes corrupt officials had been exploiting.

It remains to be seen whether the same loopholes were exploited in Bandhwari. It wasn’t just an acre or two. Illegal farmhouses came up over 40 acres. And without any of the approvals needed from any of the government agencies.

Multiple farmhouse owners have claimed to have registration papers for the land. All the 50 farmhouses, which were at different stages of construction, have been razed in a three-day drive, which started on Wednesday after the Supreme Court took cognisance of a TOI report about the hill being flattened.

Officials said land records of Bandhwari are now under scrutiny. “How were these land parcels sold and who had executed the registry? All these need to be investigated,” said an official. “More than two-thirds of the land in Bandhwari falls under the Aravalis. In revenue records, it was common village land. But over time, large chunks of this land have been transferred to private ownership and gradually sold to developers.”

“The land owners, in collusion with some revenue officials, managed to manipulate NoC rules and got the registry done without getting the necessary nod from the DTCP,” said a source.

“Even after the registries were carried out, it seems that was no mandatory verification, usually carried out within a week.”

Deputy commissioner Amit Khatri and divisional commissioner Ashok Sangwan did not respond to requests for a comment. The revenue department comes under the deputy commissioner.

District town planner RS Batth, however, said Bandhwari is notified as an urban area, but the notification is not under Section 7A of the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Area Act, 1975, which requires an NoC. “Anyway, we will check all these things. Even if the land owners have got the properties registered, it does not give them the right to carry out construction as change of land use is not possible in the area.”

But farmhouse owners have termed the demolition of their properties “illegal”. “If our properties were unauthorised, why did the authorities register them?” said an owner, requesting anonymity. “We had purchased the farmhouse in 2013. The registry was done by one government agency and now other agencies demolished the same.”

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Eight illegal farmhouses in Aravalis demolished – ET RealEstate

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GURUGRAM: Barely 24 hours after issuing notices to the developers of 50 illegal farmhouses in the Bandhwari area of the Aravalis, authorities on Wednesday razed eight such properties. The remaining farmhouses, which are at different stages of construction, will be demolished on Thursday, officials said.

The action by the department of town & country planning and MCG came a day after the SC took cognizance of a TOI report about a hillock that was flattened to build an access road to 50 farmhouses.

Illegal farmhouses at Aravali: Demolition drive to continue

A joint team of DTCP and MCG, led by district town planner RS Batth, moved in with bulldozers in the morning into the Bandhwari area and demolished the farmhouses, including four readyto-move-in structures, in the presence of a 70-member police force.

“The demolition drive will continue on Thursday as well and the remaining farmhouses will be razed. Barbed fencing put in place to separate the farmhouses being built across 25-30 acres of land will also be removed. We are even planning to register FIRs against the developers of the properties,” Batth said.

At least four government agencies — DTCP, MCG, Haryana Pollution Control Board and the state forest department — had carried out separate inspections of the site on Tuesday, and termed the constructions a clear violation of the “controlled area” notification. Subsequently, MCG had issued the notices, a formality before the demolition of any unauthorised structure.

“The farmhouses were constructed without taking any permission from the departments concerned. They were found to be illegal as per the statute of both the DTCP and the MCG. So, prompt action was taken. The Gurugram deputy commissioner has also sanctioned the demolition drive,” said Batth.

The district mining department, the forest department and the pollution control board are also expected to take action as per their statute. “Thousands of trees were cut to clear the area in the Aravalis. We had issued a damage report, in which a penalty of Rs 1 lakh was imposed. We are considering carrying out a plantation drive in the area,” said a seniorforest official.

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