Wild animals in Greater Noida’s Bil Akbarpur area are facing a severe threat to life as the 68-hectare natural wetland is parched with temperature touching nearly 44 degrees on Saturday.
The HT team spotted nine deers and two Blackbucks on Saturday afternoon in one of the biggest natural wetlands in the district, which is dying because of the administration’s apathy and rampant unauthorised construction around it.
In September 2013, a committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had spotted 100 blackbucks in bunches of 20. The committee saw 4-5 mature male blackbucks and also sighted cranes.
“Numbers of blackbucks and other wild animals, including birds, in the area is falling at an alarming rate because the administration is doing nothing to protect the region. There is no water in this wetland since all natural water channels have been blocked for construction purposes. If water is not arranged for the wetland at the earliest, the wildlife and the wetland will perish,” said advocate Amit, who is representing a case at the NGT for the protection of the wetland.
The NGT is scheduled to hear the case on May 20, 2016. A case for protecting the wetland was filed in May 2013.
According to the survey of India map, 1971, a U-shaped water body exists in villages Chithara, Bil Akbarpur and Latawali in Greater Noida.
“For the past three years, the NGT has been directing multiple authorities, including the Ghaziabad development authority, Bulandshahr development authority and the UP government to take steps to protect the area. However, nothing has happened so far. Drains from villages Chithara, Bil Akbarpur and Latawali used to supply water to this wetland. These have been tempered with and this is killing the wetland. The government needs to fence the area and declare it a protected wildlife habitat,” said Akash Vashishtha, an environmentalist.
Wildlife habitat is under threat because of the destruction of the natural wetlands in Gautam Budh Nagar district. In an RTI reply in 2009, the district administration said that the Gautam Budh Nagar district has 16 wetlands.
In 2011, in another RTI reply, the administration said that the district had six wetlands. According to the Wetland Rules 2010, each state had the onus of identifying and protecting wetlands.
About 230 species of migratory and permanent birds, including sarus (state bird of UP), blue throat and waterfowls like malard, pintale, shovelers, garganey, pochards, wigeons, waders and four-horned antelope, besides a wide range of other animals were a regular to the habitat before it was destroyed.
“I will ask my officials to visit this wetland. We will supply water to parts of the wetland, which belongs to the government. If some farmers own land around the area then we cannot ask them to not to indulge in farming activities,” said HV Girish, divisional forest officer at Gautam Budh Nagar.
BOX: Bil Akbarpur wetland:
--The Centre had said in parliament in June, 2013 that a wetland at Bil Akbarpur in Greater Noida has been infringed, a part sold to a builder. It had said an environment clearance condition that no wetland should be infringed during construction and operation phases and any wetland coming in project area should be suitably rejuvenated and conserved has not been complied. A state-level environment impact assessment authority had granted environmental clearances.
--Bil Akbarpur, Datawali and Dadri wetland is home to wildlife such as Blackbucks, blue bulls, chinkara, Sarus (state bird of UP), Blue Throat and waterfowls like Malard, Pintale, Shovelers, Garganey, Pochards,
-- A petitioner Akash Vashishtha had filed a petition in NGT in August 2013 demandingwetland protection
--Petitioner had alleged that a natural wetland was sold to builders illegally
--Since then case is heard by NGT