The Union environment ministry has asked the UP government to probe the alleged sale of parts of a wetland, home to about 200 endangered species, at Dadri in Greater Noida to a private realty firm.
“We’re probing to find out if parts of the wetland have been encroached upon,” sub divisional magistrate (SDM) Gyanendra Singh told HT on Thursday. The SDM said only the areas around the wetland, and not the wetland itself, had been sold.
Since construction activity has begun in the vicinity, environmentalists fear movement, light and sound will scare away the birds, some of them are on the list of ‘most protected’ under the Wildlife Protection Act, at Bheel Akbarpur Lake.
The builder, however, said it was building a green megapolis in conformity with all relevant laws and the wetland would not be disturbed. The union ministry has asked the UP forest department to conserve the wetland and take appropriate action to stop construction activities.
The Supreme Court has said water bodies like wetlands have to be protected. Birds such as pied cuckoo, sandpipers, sarus, blue throats, spoonbills and even the rare bristled grassbird have visited the wetlands.
In November, experts of the Wildlife Trust of India and World Wildlife Fund inspected the wetlands and “looked displeased” with construction activities.
“It appears private builders are projecting wetlands as lakes in their townships,” said Singh. The wetlands have not been declared as a protected area by the UP government.