The National Green Tribunal has restrained Uttar Pradesh government from carrying out any construction inside Surajpur wetlands in Greater Noida after a plea claimed construction of permanent structures inside the eco-sensitive area.
A wetland is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally, and has a distinct ecosystem.
A bench headed by Justice U D Salvi also directed Uttar Pradesh Forest Department not to chop trees in the reserved forest area of 308 hectares in Gautam Budh Nagar Forest Division till July 14.
“In the meanwhile, the Respondent No 7 (Forest Dept of the State of UP) shall not illegally fell any trees in the reserved forest…And shall not carry out any construction, which is prohibited under Rule 4 of the said wetland Rules or commenced for non-forest purposes, in the said wetland as described till next date,” the bench said.
It also directed the state government to identify the extent of wetlands in the reserved forest area “with reasons” and submit the decision before it on the next date.
The matter is listed for next hearing on July 14.
The NGT had earlier issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, UP Irrigation Department, Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority and others on the plea filed by environment activist Vikrant Kumar Tongad against alleged construction in the Surajpur wetland situated in the reserved forests in Gautam Budh Nagar Forest Division
The plea had said that as per the Wetland Rules, 2010 any construction of permanent structure is prohibited in the eco-sensitive area. However, the state Forest Department has constructed a road for visitors on the wetland which hosts large population of fauna.
“Direct that no activity is undertaken in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and permanent structures constructed in violation of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 in Surajpur Wetland and Reserve Forest area of Surajpur and the area be restored to its original position,” the plea had said.
Tongad had claimed that there is “illegal” construction of a pathway and an “Eco Park” taking place within Surajpur wetland and its catchment area in gross violation to Rule 4 of Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010.
( Source – PTI )