Gurgaon: NGT issues notice to Haryana govt over C&D waste plant in Basai wetlands
Delhi Bird Foundation has demanded that the plant be shifted as it fears the plant would destroy the wetlands and scare away the birds.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday issued notices to the Haryana government and several other bodies, including the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) and the Ministry of environment and forest (MoEF), seeking an explanation for setting up a construction and demolition (C&D) waste plant in Basai wetlands, about 40km from Gurgaon.
Bird watchers and environmentalists have raised concerns over the project coming up in the Basai wetlands catchment area.
On an appeal by Delhi Bird Foundation(DBF), Justice S Wangdi sought the replies from the environment ministry, the Haryana government, the MCG, and IL&FS Environmental Infrastructure and Services Ltd regarding the proposed plant and take suitable decisions in the matter.
The plea was filed in Delhi asking that the project be stopped as it would deteriorate the condition of the eco-fragile Basai wetlands. The foundation believes that the ecologically sensitive area must be protected.
According to the C&D Management Rules 2016, a plant cannot be near a forest, water body, wetland, sanctuary or human clusters. The birders said Basai was not declared a wetland under the Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules 2010, despite having a rich avifauna and aquatic life.
The DBF has demanded that the plant be shifted as it fears the plant would destroy the wetlands and scare away the birds.
“The Haryana government is not serious about conservation. Two months ago, it decided to make a tourist resort in Bindawas wildlife sanctuary and now it wants to develop a C&D waste plant in Basai wetlands,” said Abhishek Gulshan, birdwatcher.
“When we asked about the upcoming C&D plant, one of the officials commented off the record that there is no land left is Gurgaon and they are forced to encroach upon the forest and wetlands,” claimed Pankaj Gupta, another birdwatcher.
The DBF has claimed that the water body is in a critical condition in view of the ongoing project that is being developed and operated by a multinational construction firm in an area spread across 3.5 acres.
The C&D plant shall have an adverse impact on the water body due to activities such as the plying of heavy vehicles and the pollution caused during the waste conversion process.
More than 240 species of birds such as marbled teal, sarus crane, black-necked stork and Asian dowitcher visit the area. Flamingoes and black francolin, the state bird of Haryana, were common in the wetlands once. Their population is now on the decline.
The Basai wetlands also hosts migratory birds such as waders (water dependent), ducks (require slightly deeper water to survive) and warblers (prefer reeds).
The MCG officials, however, claimed that the area where the plant is coming up is degraded land and not part of the wetlands. The permission for the plant was granted by the Haryana pollution control board.
“The permission to set up the C&D plant was granted and there was no violation. A befitting reply will be given on the notice,” Sudhir Singh Chauhan, senior town planner, MCG, said.
Chauhan also said the plant would not only help process tons of construction and demolition waste that has evoked pollution concerns in Gurgaon, but would also help the civic body as it would be able to produce pipes and other construction material by recycling the debris.
On June 16, chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar inaugurated the construction of the waste treatment plant and, on May 23, MCG commissioner V Umashankhar laid the foundation stone. The is expected to start processing waste by the end of the year.
The next hearing of the case is on July 5.