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NGT bars preparatory work for car rally

Statesman News Service |

The National Green Tribunal has restrained Haryana government and the organisers from carrying out "preparatory" work for a four-day car rally on a 30-km forest track in the eco-sensitive Mangar Bani area on Gurgaon-Faridabad route.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Haryana government, its forest department, state pollution control board and the organiser of the car rally over granting permission to hold the event.

"Since the matter is urgent, the purpose of filing of this petition would stand frustrated if the interim order is not passed at the earliest.

"Consequently, we direct that the matter be listed on September 14. Issue notice to the respondents…In the meanwhile the respondents will not take any preparatory steps," the bench also comprising Justice R S Rathore said.

The order came on a plea filed by Lt Col (retd) Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi against holding the rally, scheduled to be held from September 14 to 18 by Sports Route Trust, over apprehensions that it may disturb the wildlife in the forest.

The proposal of the trust stated that the 30-km route from Bandhwari to Dumduma lake is suitable for the MRF Indian National Rally Championship. The rally will cover 210 km in five days.

The petition, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, has contended that the proposed location for the rally is an important habitat for leopards, hyena, jackals and other animals.

He also said that about 70 SUVs are likely to take part in the rally, but many other vehicles will also participate for logistical purposes.

"Out of a total rally length of 210 km, about 72 km is proposed as an off-road dirt or gravel special stage. The track passes through the Mangar Bani core zone and the catchment of Damdama lake.

"The Aravali hills act as a natural buffer to Asola Bhatti sanctuary and as a wildlife corridor between Asola and Sariska Tiger Reserve," Oberoi said.