Activists move NGT over ESZ reduction around OBS
The activists claimed that the move of the ministry was just to save the builders who have constructed residential units in the protected zone by concealing information.
Announcing the decision to move the court, counsel of the petitioner, Paramveer Singh, said that the decision has been challenged as the recent order of the green tribunal in Okhla Bird Sanctuary is not complied with its earlier orders given in cases of other sanctuaries.
In this case, the MoEF has even failed to follow its own guidelines made earlier for drawing <g data-gr-id="30">limit</g> of bird sanctuaries and protected zones. “It appears that the environment ministry, in order to please the builders, have reduced the area of ESZ. Before curtailing the boundary, the ministry must follow environment norms,” said counsel Gaurav Bansal. Also accusing the government of protecting the interests of the builders and <g data-gr-id="24">home-buyers</g> he added that the builders concealed crucial information regarding the proximity of their townships/buildings to the sanctuary when taking clearances for their projects.
Voicing their concern over it, the environmentalists also stated that it was becoming a nationwide phenomenon where the protective zones around sanctuaries are decided randomly. They also demanded that all such proposals should go to the Environment Impact Assessment Authorities for verification.
“Our lawyer is preparing the petition and will present it either in NGT or in the Supreme Court. Today, you (Ministry) have reduced the ESZ to 100 metres and tomorrow you will reduce it to 10,15 or 20 metres. Then exactly where will the sanctuary exist ?,” said Anand Arya, an environmentalist and a noted bird-watcher. He also claimed that at one time, OBS was a haven for over 300 species of birds whereas today, only a handful of birds visit it.