Notify Basai as wetland, birders write to state govt
Birding enthusiasts on Thursday wrote to the state wetland authority appealing it to notify Basai as a wetland.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) had, on December 14, asked birders to appeal to the state government to declare the area as a wetland. The court is hearing a case by the Delhi Bird Foundation, an NGO, that has stated in its plea that the proposed construction and demolition (C&D) waste treatment plant here may destroy the habitat that’s home to more than 280 species of birds.
Building the case for Basai, the letter stated: “The large wetland in sectors 101 and 104 of Gurgaon, is a mix of scrubland, fallow and cultivated fields, vegetation and flooded zones that support hundreds of varieties of bird species. The tree cover in the 700-acre area includes the Acacia and small shrubs. In addition, Basai wetland has rich reed beds of typha, phragmites, and water hyacinth stated the letter to the Haryana government.”
It is important to note that the area is home to more than 20,000 birds of 280 different species, which is 60% of the total bird species seen in the National Capital Region (NCR). It is, therefore, one of India’s key ornithological hotspots.
The letter to the state government requests it to provide legal protection to the Basai wetland that is strategically located in the NCR. It is an important destination within the Central Asian flyway which is one of the major migration routes for birds flying from Europe and Central Asia to the Indian subcontinent during winter, bird experts claimed.
“The wetland area, comprising Najafgarh (Sahibi river basin), Basai wetland and Sultanpur National Park and wetlands in Jhajjar (Dhigal village), together form a large ecosystem for migratory birds,” Pankaj Gupta, a birder with the Delhi Bird Foundation, said.
The site qualifies to be declared as a ‘Ramsar’, site which implies that it has international importance, reads a remark in the 2004 survey by the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON).
“As per the Central Groundwater Board, all water bodies here are a source of groundwater recharge. Thus, Basai wetland is important to the city at a time when the city’s groundwater level has been depicting at an alarming rate as Gurgaon is extracting three times more water than it is recharging, claimed experts,” the survey states.
“Rapid urbanisation is eating into the Basai wetland and the construction activity around the area might disturb the migratory pattern of birds; eventually they might avoid Basai. The area needs protection as the region has been losing its green cover,” Abhishek Gulshan, a birder, said.