The National Green Tribunal (NGT) this week will hear a plea over the encroachment and filling up of a natural stormwater drain — the Badshahpur Nallah — in Gurgaon. Residents alleged that the encroachment is a blatant violation of the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
A Gurgaon-based NGO, Haryali Welfare Society, which works to protect the environment, and two residents of Valley View Estate, Vaishali Rana Chandra and Sharmila Kaushik, filed the petition in NGT on Saturday.
The petitioners alleged that due to the illegal encroachment of the Badshahpur Nallah, the city witnesses waterlogging during the monsoon and the ground water table is also depleting every year.
The petition stated, “The encroachments, construction and granting of licence and change in land-use by town and country planning department, including construction on the Badshahpur Nallah, is illegal and in violation of the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and directions of NGT as well as the 2010 Guidelines on Urban Flooding prepared by the National Institute for Disaster Management.”
Sharmila Kaushik, one of the petitioners, said, “We have pleaded to direct the Gurgaon authority for immediate removal of illegal encroachments and cancellation of licences and change in land-use of the stormwater drain. We have also asked for the restoration of the drain to its original state.”
Vaishali Rana Chandra, another petitioner, pointed out that the NGT should appoint an expert committee for monitoring the restoration of the natural drain, and recommend safeguards to be incorporated and undertaken for ensuring the preservation of the nallah, so that the floodplains of the stormwater drain are protected and urban flooding is avoided in the future.
“The Haryana town and country planning department has not specified the minimum distance that should be left from a water body and its floodplain, with regard to approving construction work in its vicinity,” she said.
The petitioners said they want the Badshahpur Nallah and its tributaries declared as a Natural Conservation Zone (NCZ) as per the NCR planning board letter in March 2015, which stated that the water bodies should be protected. They said that construction activity for human habitation or for any other ancillary purpose there should not be permitted.