‘Illegal’ construction on at Surajpur wetland, forest dept says it’s stopped now - Hindustan Times
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‘Illegal’ construction on at Surajpur wetland, forest dept says it’s stopped now

By, Greater Noida
May 02, 2024 06:08 AM IST

Forest department officials said the culvert/road was being built for the convenience of villagers to reach a fair that is organised annually at the ancient Barahi temple in Surajpur. The road has now been shut, they said

A patch of land that falls under the reserve forest area in Greater Noida’s Surajpur wetland has been allegedly encroached upon for building a culvert and road across Hawaliya drain, local environment activists have said.

Around three to four metre wide and 300 to 400 metre long cemented road has been built at the start of the Surajpur chowk on Surajpur-Dadri road. The construction has been developed by felling around 100 trees and shrubs in the area, said environmentalists. (HT Photo)
Around three to four metre wide and 300 to 400 metre long cemented road has been built at the start of the Surajpur chowk on Surajpur-Dadri road. The construction has been developed by felling around 100 trees and shrubs in the area, said environmentalists. (HT Photo)

They said the encroachment, which has been raised allegedly after felling trees and shrubs, came to their notice on Monday and when they got in touch with the forest department, they were informed by officials there that the culvert/road was being built for the convenience of villagers to reach a fair that is organised annually at the ancient Barahi temple in Surajpur. The road has now been shut, said officials.

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“The area comes under the reserved forest and no construction can come up there. The departments responsible for taking action against the illegal activity are silent and allowing the illegality to happen. They have been maintaining that the construction of the path is for the convenience of villagers and is taken up every year. In that case, why is there no government notification regarding this development?” said advocate and social activist Nisha Rai.

“Around three to four metre wide and 300 to 400 metre long cemented road has been built at the start of the Surajpur chowk on Surajpur-Dadri road. The construction has been developed by felling around 100 trees and shrubs in the area. This has been done by some contractors in collaboration with some politically connected people,” said Greater Noida-based environment activist Vikrant Tongad.

According to Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010, any construction of a permanent structure is prohibited in the eco sensitive area.

Notably, the National Green Tribunal had, in 2016, restrained Uttar Pradesh government from carrying out any construction activities inside the Surajpur wetland in Greater Noida following a plea that alleged that permanent constructions were being carried out within the eco sensitive zone.

Divisional forest officer (DFO), Gautam Budh Nagar, Pramod Kumar Srivastava said, “No illegal construction has come up and the area does not fall in the ambit of reserved forest area. A fair is held every year at a temple located nearby and villagers were facing inconvenience reaching there. Thus, the approach road was thrown open to locals. It has now been shut,” said DFO.

In March, the construction of a road inside the Okhla Bird Sanctuary (OBS) was halted after several birders and nature enthusiasts opposed it.

A Noida-based environment activist had moved NGT after which the tribunal sought a response from the Union environment ministry, the state government, Gautam Budh Nagar administration and local government bodies over the alleged construction activities in the natural habitat, HT had reported.

The case is scheduled for a hearing on July 2.

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