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HindustanTimes Fri,25 Apr 2014

Waste plant threat to Okhla bird sanctuary: UP

Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 16, 2013
First Published: 01:48 IST(16/9/2013) | Last Updated: 03:07 IST(16/9/2013)

The Uttar Pradesh government has said a waste-to-energy plant is running within the 10-km eco-sensitive zone of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary without the approval of the National Board for Wildlife (NBW). 

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In an affidavit before the National Green Tribunal, the UP government has said that action can be taken for this violation. Its inspection has found that the plant lies 2km from the sanctuary.

The plant falls in the Delhi government’s area of jurisdiction while the sanctuary lies in UP.

“The tribunal may pass an order through which the provisions of eco-sensitive zone can be invoked,” the affidavit said.   

The plant burns waste to produce electricity at Sukhdev Vihar in Okhla. The sanctuary is located where the Yamuna leaves Delhi and enters UP. On May 8, 1990, the UP government declared 400 hectares of the land as a bird sanctuary (protected area) though it hasn’t declared the 10-km area around the sanctuary an eco-sensitive zone.

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But citing an SC order and frequent guidelines issued by the ministry of environment and forests, it said, “It is absolutely clear that the plant should have taken clearance from the NBW.” The plant does have clearance from the forest ministry.

The UP government filed the affidavit after a group of residents from Sukhdev Vihar filed an application and alleged that emissions from the plant were hazardous for the sanctuary. Hearing an earlier application filed by the same group, the tribunal on Tuesday had warned that the plant can face closure if it did not improve pollution-control measures in three weeks.

Both matters will be heard on October 10.

A committee formed by the UP government has advised the 1-km area around the sanctuary be declared an eco-sensitive zone. The recommendations will be placed before the UP cabinet before being sent to the Centre .

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