NGT forms committee over private colleges within Agra's bird Sanctuary
(Sourced from PTI)
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has constituted a committee to decide whether two private engineering colleges have been constructed inside Agra's Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary. The tribunal was hearing a plea of an environmentalist challenging the construction of the colleges inside the sanctuary, alleging that it's being done without obtaining the environment clearance as required under the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) Notification, 2006.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel set up the committee on October 30 comprising the Principal Secretaries of departments of revenue and forest, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Head of the Forest Force) and the Chief Wild Life Warden of Uttar Pradesh. The nodal officer will be the Chief Wild Life Warden of the state, who will co-ordinate the proceedings.
The bench said the meeting for the purpose may be held within one month from November 6. Also, "decision on the question whether the Anand Engineering College and Hindustan Institute of Management and Technology are within the area of Wild Life Sanctuary notified on March 27, 1991 may be taken within two months thereafter. The concerned statutory authorities will thereafter enforce the said order."
In the plea, the environmentalist said the construction should have been done after obtaining NOC from Pollution Control Board, Forest Clearance and permissions from National Board for Wildlife and in violation of Wetland (Conservation & Management) Rules, 2010, but wasn't followed here. The plea also sought demolition of the illegal structure, quashing of clearances and action against state officials besides restoration of the area.
Further, the plea said Hindustan Institute of Management and Technology was discharging noxious effluents directly into Keetham lake in the sanctuary without treatment and that the college "managed" to procure NOC from the Agra district administration that the land isn't being used for agriculture or horticulture. This is in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
The Agra District Magistrate's said the area is covered by the 1991 Notification, which the NGT noted. However, without the area's demarcation, "The SEIAA has granted Environmental Clearance and the Pollution Control Board has granted Consent under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 thereby permitting the institutions to continue," it said.
The NGT further said that it would be open to the parties to put forward their views before the committee through the Chief Wildlife Warden in writing. "A report of the committee may be forwarded to this Tribunal by the Chief Wildlife Warden by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org on or before February 28, 2019 and put up for consideration on March 12, 2019," it said.