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NGT seeks Centre's reply on plea against ESZ in Okhla

NGT seeks Centre’s reply on plea against ESZ in Okhla

The National Green Tribunal today sought the Centre’s response on a plea seeking quashing of the August 19 notification issued by the Environment Ministry in which it had demarcated the Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) around Okhla bird sanctuary.

In its notification, MoEF had declared that the ESZ in the sanctuary will be the area up to 100 m from the eastern, western and southern boundary and up to 1.27 km from the northern boundary of the sanctuary, which extends up to DND flyover across the riverbed situated in Uttar Pradesh’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district and southeast district of NCT Delhi.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notice to Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), Uttar Pradesh government and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and others while seeking its reply by September 14.

The directions came while hearing a plea filed by environmentalist Paramveer Singh challenging the notification on the ground that MoEF has failed to comply with directions by the tribunal in relation to the protection of eco-system of the Okhla sanctuary.

Contending that the notification is “nothing but death knell” for the sanctuary, Singh has sought directions to produce all the documents with regard to the decision making process of Eco Sensitive Zone of the sanctuary.

“Uttar Pradesh and MoEF in order to save the projects situated within 10 km radius of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary, has half-heartedly dealt with the issue of Eco Sensitive Zone of Okhla Bird Sanctuary and thus has not only failed to follow the due process of law but has overlooked/violated various directions passed by this tribunal,” the plea, filed through advocate Gaurav Bansal, said.

“That notifying an area up to 100 m from eastern, western and southern boundary and area up to 1.27 km from the northern boundary of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh and NCT Delhias Eco Sensitive Zone is highly irrational and the respondents have failed to examine its ecological impact on the sanctuary,” it said.

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