New Delhi: In a partial relief to about 30,000 home buyers, the environment ministry has issued a draft notification earmarking 100 metres to 1.27 km from the Okhla Bird Sanctuary as an eco-sensitive zone, reducing it substantially from the 10 km area directed by a National Green Tribunal (NGT). According to the draft notification, “the extent of Eco-sensitive Zone ranges from 100 meters to 1.27 km from the boundary of Okhala Bird Sanctuary in the district of Gautam Budh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh and South East District of the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT).”
“The Eco-sensitive Zone is the area up to 100 meters from the eastern, western and southern boundary and up to 1.27 km from the northern boundary of the Okhla Bird Sanctuary up to DND flyover, across the riverbed, situated in Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh and South East district of the NCT,” according to the draft. The ministry has invited comments and suggestions from the public for the next 60 days. By an environment ministry norm, it takes up to 545 days for a final notification to come into effect once an initial draft is notified by the Centre.
It also proposes prohibition of construction activities, commercial establishment of hotels and resorts, all new and existing mining (minor and major minerals), stone quarrying and crushing units except for the domestic needs of “bona fide” residents. “New construction of any kind shall not be allowed within the Eco-sensitive Zone,” the draft said.
Last October, a NGT order had directed Noida Authority to stop construction within 10 km of the sanctuary. In its order, the NGT had directed the Centre to demarcate the eco-sensitive zone around the Okhla Bird Sanctuary after considering fresh proposals of the Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Haryana governments. Subsequently, the developers in the Noida region could not give completion certificates to its buyers for the completed flats in the area. Now, with the new demarcation, there is a hope that the issue would be resolved soon.
Welcoming the new demarcation, many developers said the issue was expected to be sorted soon, helping buyers to get possession of their flats. ATS, Jaypee, Logix, Ajnara and Amrapali are among the various developers whose projects were impacted.
The draft also proposed a ban on polluting industries and establishment of new major hydroelectric projects in the eco-sensitive zone, regulated movement of vehicular traffic at night, undertaking activities related to tourism like flying over the sanctuary area in hot-air balloons and discharge of treated effluents in natural water bodies.