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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Dec 2014

Land sharks eye two wetlands in Kolkata

Joydeep Thakur , Hindustan Times  Kolkata, July 31, 2013
First Published: 12:21 IST(31/7/2013) | Last Updated: 12:33 IST(31/7/2013)

The water bodies, near Silver Spring Complex and Milan Mela ground, spread over four acres - are under threat from the land sharks.

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Two large wetlands – nearly the size of four football fields and located in one of the city’s prime areas, near Milon Mela ground along the EM Bypass, are now under threat from land sharks.

Each of the two water bodies is spread over nearly four acres each and surrounded by Hatgachia colony, Silver Spring Complex and the Milan Mela ground.

A cottah costs around Rs58 – Rs60 lakhs in the area.

While dumping rubbish to build a road is gradually filling one up, developers are eyeing the other one and have already started to construct walls claiming that a portion of the wetland falls under their property.

Locals have already started a protest against this illegal move and Green activists, after being tipped off by the locals, have also lodged a FIR with the Pragati Maidan police.

The state environment department, state fishery department and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have also been alerted.

“After receiving reports from the locals a team of experts and green Activists rushed to the spot. A portion of one of the water bodies is being gradually filled up,” said Naba Dutta convenor of Sabuj Mancha – a platform of organisations and people supporting environmental causes.

Pictures taken by the experts, over the past one month, confirms that at least a 30 feet stretch of the water body has been filled up over a few days time.

A real estate company is dumping rubbish almost everyday to fill up the wetland.

The residents of Hatgachia colony (located adjacent to the wetland) claimed that the water bodies were earlier filled up with clean water used for fish culture, bathing, washing and other daily needs. Needless to mention, such water bodies keep the place cool.

The KMC used to clean the water bodies from time to time.

But after real estate projects started coming up in the area the water bodies lost their importance to the authorities.

It is now full of water hyacinth.

“Moreover, KMC connected some drains of Hatgachia-1 colony to the adjacent water body and stopped any cleaning measure of the same. It got filled up with water hyacinth. The local residents informed that in spite of their repeated requests, the water body has not been cleaned for last few years,” said Sasanka Dev secretary of DISHA an NGO associated with Sabuj Mancha.

The second water body, which is also located in the same area, is still used by the locals for washing and bathing.

They started protesting and stopped the construction of at least two walls on two sides of the water body.

“We have already initiated action. While on one hand we have issued a notice, which has been hung at the site. The police have also been informed and a FIR has been lodged. The illegal filling up of the wetland has bee stopped,” said Subrata Sil, DG of the KMC’s project management unit.


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