The Yamuna Expressway industrial development authority (Yeida) on Wednesday said that it will develop 100 hectares of marshland area as wetland and bird sanctuary.
The marshland is located in Sectors 16 and 17, proposed for development as residential area, along the Yamuna Expressway. According to officials, protection of the marshland will help conserve groundwater and protect wildlife habitat.
“We had already sent a proposal to the state government seeking protection of 40 hectares of this 100-hectare marshland. Now, we have started the process of protecting the remaining 60 hectares,” said Arun Vir Singh, chief executive officer (CEO) of Yeida.
According to officials, 40 hectares of marshland has been identified and once the state government issues the notification, Yeida will start fencing around it.
“We will conduct a survey on the remaining 60 hectares for identification, in the next 60 days. We will also prepare a proposal on it in 60 days and send the same to the state government so that it issues a notification. Notification means the state is legally bound to protect this land as a green buffer zone,” said Singh.
The 100-hectare marshland is located in Dhanauri, Thasrana, Bhatta-Parsaul and Amirpur Bangar villages, among others, off the Yamuna Expressway.
“Our proposed residential sectors 16 and 17 are spread over 270 hectares of agricultural land. After we reserve 100 hectares for wetland and bird sanctuary, the remaining 170 will be used for housing projects in future. This 100-hectare green buffer will work as lungs for the area to be urbanised,” said Singh.
The authority’s decision comes after environment activists repeatedly demanded for protection of this marshland area, which is home to 198 species of birds including UP’s state bird – the Sarus Crane.
In January 2015, while hearing a case filed by environmentalist Anand Arya from Noida, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the state of UP and the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) to identify and notify this wetland. Since then, the UP government has identified 1,30,000 hectares of wetland area across the state for protection.
However, regarding the authority’s decision, environmentalist Vikrant Tongad said, “Merely declaring the area as protected and fencing it will not serve the purpose. The authority will also have to restrict unauthorised construction on the wetland periphery (after its declaration), which disturbs wildlife. We welcome the move of protection if it is implemented on ground.”