State panel inspects Haiderpur wetland for ‘encroachment’ & water management
The team’s visit comes in the wake of authorities carrying out an anti-encroachment drive to free the wetland, a recognised Ramsar site, of the wheat crops sown by nearby villagers in violation of norms.
MEERUT A three-member panel -- constituted by the Uttar Pradesh government -- visited the Haiderpur wetland inside the Hastinapur Wildlife Sanctuary in Muzaffarnagar on Wednesday. The team’s visit comes in the wake of authorities carrying out an anti-encroachment drive to free the wetland, a recognised Ramsar site, of the wheat crops sown by nearby villagers in violation of norms.
The team -- comprising Lalit Verma, chief conservator of forest of the Bareilly zone; his Meerut zone counterpart NK Janoo; and chief conservator of wildlife SN Mishra -- also investigated the allegations that the irrigation department drained off water from the wetland irrationally, impacting the movement of thousands of migratory birds.
Talking to HT over the phone, panel member Lalit Verma said, “Our mandate was to look into the issue of encroachment and check whether the water was drained off from the wetland. We also interacted with senior officials and locals for our investigation.”
When asked about the inspection, Kanhaiyalal Patel, divisional forest officer of Muzaffarnagar, said, “The team examined the entire area. A permanent solution can be reached only after the demarcation of wetlands.”
Earlier, in January, HT had reported how the irrigation department drained off water from the wetland into the Ganga. Taking advantage of the water being drained into the Ganga, people from neighbouring villages gradually entered the wetland and started sowing wheat after destroying typha grass, the natural habitat of swamp deer.
Notably, the biodiversity-rich Haiderpur Wetland hosts hundreds of migratory and water bird species that arrive to the sanctuary during the winter season.