While hearing the case of 2 colleges of Sharda Group, namely Hindustan Institute of Technology & Management, Agra (HIT) and Anand Engineering College, Agra (AEC) falling within the ambit of bird sanctuary on April 9, National Green Tribunal has ruled that the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF&CC) should in a span of 2 months through e-mail decide on, whether the said colleges fall in the bird sanctuary area.
The NGT earlier on April 5 was reportedly sent a status report filed by the Chief Wild Life Warden, Uttar Pradesh stating “that the colleges in question are within the notified boundary of the Sanctuary. During the course of hearing, a map has been shown which has two boundaries. The blue boundary demarcates 403.09 ha area and the black boundary demarcates the boundary of the Sanctuary.”
The NGT was hearing a case of Umashankar Patwa & Ors. Applicant(s) Versus Union of India & Ors, earlier titled as D.K. Joshi Vs. Union of India & Ors.
The NGT stated that, “the question for consideration is whether Hindustan Institute of Technology & Management, Agra (HIT) and Anand Engineering College, Agra (AEC) are within the Wildlife Sanctuary notified by the State of Uttar Pradesh as “Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary” of Agra under Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. If it is within the Wildlife Sanctuary, restrictions under Section 27 will 2 apply and the setting up of the said colleges itself may be questionable.”
The NGT further stated that “the matter was considered vide order dated Oct. 30, 2018 in the light of various proceedings. It was found that the conflicting versions need to be resolved for which a committee coordinated by the Chief Wild Life Warden, Uttar Pradesh was required to furnish a report.”
The NGT said that it is of the view that “opinion of the MoEF&CC may be required on the following issues: whether the restriction under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 will apply to the entire area, including the area beyond 403.09 ha indicated by blue line and, whether any restriction applies to the area outside the protected area of ‘403.09 ha’. This question may also require consideration of safety zone or buffer zone adjacent to the bird sanctuary. We also find from the document ‘Eco-Sensitive Zone of Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary’ that area of ESZ is 1020.25 ha while the protected area proposed is 403.09 ha. Further question will be regulation of other structures or activities falling in the proposed ESZ and the mitigation steps required and proposed.”
The NGT has listed the matter for further hearing on June 22.
– Prasoon Pant (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)