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Residents in NGT to halt biodiversity park at Noida, Sector 91

Activists claim the biodiversity park will entail chopping 3000 trees in violation of environmental laws.

noida Updated: Aug 31, 2018 11:55 IST
Snehil Sinha
Snehil Sinha
Hindustan Times, Noida
Biodiversity Park,Noida Sector 91,NGT
The authority had planned to fell 3,000 eucalyptus trees from the city forest in Sector 91 to develop the park(HT FIle Photo)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has admitted a petition, filed by a Noida resident, opposing the development of a biodiversity park by the authority in Sector 91. The case has been listed for hearing on Friday.

According to activists, who have been protesting against the construction of the biodiversity park, the felling of 3,000 trees in the area is in violation of environment laws and is also causing a loss of habitat for several animal and bird species, including the nilgai (blue bull).

“The respondents have failed in their duty to preserve the environment and ecology, as defined in the Uttar Pradesh Tree Protection Act, 1976, by allowing such illegal activity,” mentions the appeal made by Vikrant Tongad, environment activist.

It also said a notification dated July 20, 2012, clearly states that seven tree species, including neem, cannot be felled till December 31, 2020. Two neem trees were cut during the felling of eucalyptus trees earlier this week, following which the forest department had filed a complaint.

The petition mentions five other such violations of various environment laws. This include commencement of construction activities without permission, illegal extraction of groundwater, unscientific storage of construction material in the open and large-scale concreting of an open area.

“It has been portrayed that we are against the biodiversity park and cutting of eucalyptus trees. However, all we want is that this area remains a city forest and the existing habitat and ecosystem are not disturbed. We are requesting the court to ensure that the tree cover is maintained, all legal permissions are sought and that there is no concreting of the area,” Tongad said.

The Noida authority had planted eucalyptus trees in the early 1980s. The trees are now at the end of their life cycle and need to be felled. The authority has permission to cut 3,000 trees to convert the area into the city’s largest biodiversity park.

According to the authority’s plans, several biomes will be recreated in the park, replicating a flower petal. The biodiversity park will also have an amphitheatre, outdoor exhibition space, miniature picnic gardens, a 5km jogging track, 3km golf cart track and two water bodies. Around one lakh trees will also be planted in the area, including 5,000 native varieties, apart from around one lakh shrubs, plants and ornamental plants.

“We have already planted more than 1,000 trees. All we want is to convert the area into a lush green space,” Ravinder Singh, deputy director (horticulture), Noida authority, said.

First Published: Aug 31, 2018 04:36 IST