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Basai wetland an important area for birds : rules green tribunal

The Delhi Board Foundation had moved a petition at the National Green Tribunal claiming that the Basai wetland is under threat from a proposed construction and demolition processing plant in the area

gurgaon Updated: Nov 24, 2017 22:48 IST
Ipsita Pati
Ipsita Pati
Hindustan Times
Migratory birds,NGT,Delhi Bird Foundation
Exotic birds from different parts of the globe come to nest at the Basai wetland every year.(HT FILE)

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday observed that the Basai wetland, around 8 km from Gurgaon city, is an important area for birds, both of native species and exotic visitors from far-off lands, to flock in.

The observation comes at a time when the tribunal has been holding hearings on a petition filed by Delhi Bird Foundation, an NGO, saying the wetland that draws migratory birds in large numbers every year is under threat from a proposed plant for processing construction and demolition waste.

However, while ruling that the wetland is a protected habitat for winged wonders, the tribunal is yet to pass its judgment on shifting the C&D waste treatment plant in the light of concerns flagged by environment experts and bird enthusiasts. The next hearing in the matter is scheduled on November 27.

In their petition to the NGT, bird enthusiasts demanded that the tribunal order an immediate suspension of work on the C&D treatment plant at Basai. They urged the tribunal to consider shifting the plant from the area, saying that dust from the plant will wreak havoc on the fragile ecosystem and destroy the wetland.

Bird experts said that the wetland, spread over 700 acres, draws migratory birds by the dozens every year. At present, the area is home to more than 2,000 birds, including species such as Gadwall, Mallard, Ruddy Shelduck and Common Pochard.

“Basai wetland should be preserved, as it is home to thousands of birds from different parts of the globe. Any disturbance to the sensitive ambience of the surroundings could alter the flight path of the migratory birds. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has already proposed that Basai be officially declared as a wetland,” Pankaj Gupta, a bird expert, said.

Experts at the Delhi Bird Foundation pointed out that construction of C&D waste processing plant close to any wetland is a violation of the C&D Management Rules 2016, which states that a plant cannot be near a forest, water body, wetland, sanctuary or human clusters.

Read I Migratory birds start flocking to Basai wetland in Gurgaon

The experts have also demanded that Basai be notified as a wetland at the earliest. Soma Ateesh, another bird expert, said, “The area, which has all the features of a wetland and his home to an active aquatic ecosystem, is facing a direct threat from rapid urbanisation. Thus, efforts should be doubled to preserve this fragile space and notify it as a wetland.”

Officials of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) said that the NGT is likely to take a call on shifting the C&D waste treatment plant on Monday.

“Gurgaon sorely needs a C&D waste processing plant, as construction and demolition rubble is often dumped along roads leading to a spike in air pollution. Since the area (Basai) isn’t home to a designated wetland, construction of the C&D waste treatment plant does not come into conflict with any rule,” Sudhir Chauhan, senior town planner, MCG, said.

Chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar laid the foundation stone for the Basai waste plant on June 17.

Earlier, the MCG gave its nod to a multinational realty firm to build a waste processing plant over 3.5 acres in Basai. MCG commissioner V Umashankar also presided over a foundation event on May 23.

First Published: Nov 24, 2017 22:48 IST