Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The committee constituted by National Green Tribunal (NGT) has recommended against Professor Colony re-densification project for shifting the collectorate. The committee has suggested exploring an alternate site for new collectorate, citing concerns about the violation of the Wetland Rules, 2017 leading. The project poses a threat to a vital part of Bhoj Wetland, a Ramsar Site of International importance.
The entire project around the lower lake, if needed, be comprehensively evaluated instead of piecemeal evaluation and the subsequent infrastructure development shall ensure compliance with the applicable Wetlands rules, 2017, said the committee in its recommendation to the Green Tribunal. The committee also recommended an appropriate action against the EIA consultant for not being serious in evaluating the Project from the perspective of protection of Bhoj Wetland.
The NGT had constituted the committee in October 2023 to look into any violation of Bhoj wetland rules and regulations for environment conservation with reference to Professor colony re-densification.
Advocate Harshwardhan Tiwari said the committee submitted its report in NGT on Tuesday. NGT had issued directions on the petition filed by environmentalist Nitin Saxena.
Taking into consideration the NGT observations, the committee other recommendations include
1. An alternative site away from the Bhoj Wetland may be explored by the project proponent Madhya Pradesh Housing and Infrastructure Board (MPHIDC) or the appropriate/concerned authority. This alternate site arrangement will also save very old trees and avoid large-scale deforestation resulting from the execution of the said re-densification project.
2. State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA)/ State Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) may take appropriate action against the EIA consultant M/s. In-situ enviro care, Bhopal for not being serious in evaluating the Project from the perspective of protection of Bhoj Wetland.
3. Any construction activities in future in the buffer zone needs to be strictly prevented and monitored by quarterly reviews through high-resolution satellite imagery data, to be obtained in consultation with agencies like NRSA/ISRO.
4. Appropriate sign boards by concerned Urban Local Body be put up to ensure no construction activity of a permanent nature takes place within 50 m distance from the HFL of Upper/ Lower Lake and to bring awareness among the public of the importance of Bhoj Wetland.
5. Environment clearance for the project needs to be revoked by SEIAA/SEAC and a fresh appraisal of the project, if required, needs to be undertaken taking into consideration the Wetland Rules and ensuring the surface drainage of the area (Zone of Influence) is not disturbed.
6. An Integrated Management plan should be in place for Bhoj Wetland as well and SWA/EPCO needs to take appropriate action in the matter.