Okhla bird sanctuary saved from destruction

Okhla bird sanctuary saved from destruction

Stop all 49 projects within 10 km, says Green Tribunal

The National Green Tribunal directed Noida and Gautam Budh Nagar authorities on Tuesday to ensure that no construction work is carried out in the 49 projects around Okhla bird sanctuary.

A bench comprising judicial members justices P Jyothimani and S N Hussain also directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) to file their replies on a plea for prevention of construction within 10 km from the sanctuary or face “coercive steps”.

“We make it very clear the earlier order restraining construction without proper authority shall be implemented scrupulously and the district magistrate and senior superintendent of police are directed to see that the restriction is implemented, and no further construction is done in respect of 49 units,” said the tribunal.

“The MoEF and NBWL seeks time to file replies. The respondents shall file the replies by the next date of hearing, failing which coercive steps will be taken against the respondents. It is made clear that MoEF in its reply shall clearly state the areas which are within 10 kilometres from Okhla bird sanctuary,” the bench added.

The tribunal passed the order after it was informed by the Noida Authority that 49 builders are engaged in construction activity in the area with requisite clearances.
The bench, however, directed the authority to file all particulars and details relating to the 49 projects, including the source from where they draw water for their project, by the next date of hearing.

The Noida Authority also submitted that it will take steps to ensure no further constructions are carried out by these projects.

The tribunal was hearing the plea of Noida resident Amit Kumar, who sought prevention of the allegedly illegal and unauthorised construction being undertaken by builders within the 10-km radius of Okhla bird sanctuary, claimed to be an eco-sensitive zone.

The application, filed through advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, contended that without obtaining any clearance from NBWL or State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, some 55 builders were carrying on construction around the sanctuary.

It was also alleged that the UP government has not bothered to notify the sanctuary as an eco-sensitive zone, despite intervention of the Supreme Court and repeated requests of the MoEF.

Amit Kumar contended that as per the Wildlife Conservation Strategy-2002 adopted by NBWL, land falling within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and sanctuaries should be notified as eco zones under the Environment Protection Act and Environment Protection Rules.