The Union ministry of environment, forest and climate change has sought an action taken report from the principal chief conservator of forest, wildlife, Uttar Pradesh, on multiple threats to the natural Hasanpur wetland.
Spread over 37.749 hectares, the wetland is located near Bambawad village on the border of Gautam Budh Nagar and Hapur districts. The wetland, the biggest in Delhi-NCR, is around 10 km away from Greater Noida’s Dadri. However, since it is located in two districts, its protection has been nobody’s priority.
“I will look into the issue and ensure appropriate action on it. If the wetland is natural and large, it should be protected properly,” said Umendra Sharma, UP principal chief conservator of forest (UPPCF), wildlife .
The Union ministry sought an action taken report after Vikrant Tongad, of the NGO Social Action for Forest and Environment , lodged a complaint on teh destruction of the wetland and its wildlife. He lodged a complaint on January 23 this year and the ministry wrote to UPPCCF on January 30.
“The complaint to the ministry speaks for itself. A copy of the action taken report may be provided to the ministry on priority,” said the letter.
Tongad has also filed a complaint against the Greater Noida authority, National highways authority of India (NHAI), the district forest department and other local bodies. However, no action has been taken so far by any of these bodies.
“The buffer zone and catchment area of the wetland is witnessing constant construction activity, which is a threat to the wetland. The farmers are making excess use of pesticides and insecticides on their agriculture land, which is flowing in the wetland, thereby damaging the aquatic life. Contaminated water is polluting the water of the wetland,” said the complaint.
According to Tongad, fish in the wetland have already started dying due to the contaminated water and steps need to be taken on a war footing to check the damage.
The complaint added that the NHAI and Greater Noida authority also plan to construct two major roads around the wetland, which will destroy it to a large extent.
“As per law, if a wetland is larger than 2.5 hectares, it should be notified for its protection. We have demanded that it be notified and conserved because it is a catalyst for groundwater conservation and also helps in controlling flooding in nearby areas,” said Tongad.
The Hapur district forest department said that fishing activity is underway in this wetland on a large scale.
“I have directed those involved in fishery activities that they should not use noise (firecrackers) to scare away birds. It is the biggest natural wetland of the two districts and water is available throughout the year,” said PN Singh, divisional forest officer, Hapur.