Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): National Green Tribunal (NGT), on Tuesday, prohibited operation of cruise and other motor propelled boats in Upper Lake (Bhoj Wetland now called Ramsar site) and other wetlands.
As per the Tribunal order, the respondents are restrained from running Cruise Boats and any other boat operated with motors in Bhopal Lake (Ramsar site) and other designated wetlands. The above restrictions will not apply to non- motorised Boats/Cruises.
Respondents include State government, MP Tourism, Environment department, UAD, BMC, Bhopal Smart city Development Corporation limited, State Wetland Authority, MPPCB and Sate Biodiversity Board.
The respondents have also been restrained from raising any permanent construction within ‘Zone of Influence’ of water bodies/wetlands and if any permanent construction has been raised, the same shall be demolished. Three months time has been given for compliance.
MoEF&CC and CPCB have been directed to formulate a SoP for the motorized boats in water bodies/lakes (not designated as wetlands), if the motors are fitted with four-stroke outboard engines or operated by green fuel and do not cause any damage to water and air ecology and environment.
The order stated that cruises if deploy any system creating noise etc., the relevant environmental Statutes shall be followed. The operation of the boats in the lakes/water bodies not designated as wetlands may be carried out with the boats fitted with four stroke outboards engines as being utilized in more than three dozen Countries in the World, subject to compliance of environmental laws.
MPPCB and forest department shall also ensure that the activities within prohibited range from Reserved Forest, National Parks, Eco- Sensitive Zone etc. are not allowed so as to disturb, disrupt and damage wildlife activities unless due permission/clearance/NOC, if permissible, is obtained from the concerned authorities.
NGT gave a landmark judgment. The verdict is for all the water bodies of the state. It will have long-lasting impact on other water bodies in the country as well.
Dr SC Pandey, petitioner and environmentalist