NGT asks Noida authorities to report on encroachment of wetlands
The bench, headed by justice Sudhir Agarwal and justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, gave the order while hearing a petition filed by a resident regarding the lack of protection for wetlands in the city that can help revive groundwater levels
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday formed a joint committee comprising officials from the Central Pollution Control Board, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), the Uttar Pradesh State Wetlands Authority and the district magistrate and asked them to file a report within two months on the encroachment of 117 water bodies and wetlands in Noida.
The green court also asked the committee to explain what is being done to conserve the water bodies in Noida.
The bench, headed by justice Sudhir Agarwal and justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, gave the order while hearing a petition filed by a resident regarding the lack of protection for wetlands in the city that can help revive groundwater levels. The petition also highlighted 117 water bodies that should be urgently protected in the district.
According to records, Gautam Budh Nagar is among 255 water-stressed districts in India.
“We have got to know that about 1,000 ponds with an area of 4.5sqkm (448,418 hectares) are being profiled by the district administration. However, the worst part is that the protectors of these natural resources are themselves encroaching upon the water bodies. A 1,140sqm pond in Dadri was used to build the municipality office, as mentioned in the revenue records. Similarly, there is no care for any water body in Noida. If preserved, these can be natural aquifers to recharge groundwater across Noida,” said Abhisht Gupta, the appellant.
According to the case details, of the 1,000 ponds being profiled in Gautam Budh Nagar, 474 ponds are in Dadri, 281 in Jewar, and 245 in Sadar (which covers part of Greater Noida, Noida, Dankaur and Bisrakh).
The petition said, “At present, the groundwater in the district is being over-exploited or is [at critical levels]. This is an immense strain on the limited water sources. In this regard, instead of protecting, managing and conserving the existing water bodies, along with appropriate efforts to setup new water bodies, the respondents have ignored the rampant encroachments and systematic destruction of the wetlands and water bodies.”
The petition added that the appellant had earlier also asked the UPPCB to look into the matter but there was no serious action by the respondents to conserve the water bodies. Later, a case was filed in the Allahabad high court as well, but the team was redirected to the NGT.
The NGT bench has set July 4 as the next date of hearing.