Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding constructions within Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary, Uttar Pradesh, 18/09/2020

  • 18/09/2020

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Umashankar Patwa & Others Vs Union of India & Others dated 18/09/2020.

The question for consideration is whether Hindustan Institute of Technology & Management, Agra (HIT) and Anand Engineering College, Agra (AEC) are within the Wildlife Sanctuary notified by the State of Uttar Pradesh as “Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary” vide Notification March 27, 1991 in District Agra, under Section 18 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

If it is within the Wildlife Sanctuary, restrictions under Section 27 would apply and the setting up of the said colleges itself would be questionable.

The Court noted that though the protected area described by the blue line in the map is 403.09 hectare (ha), the area of the sanctuary is said to be 1020.25 ha, which includes 403.09 ha. There are constructions outside 403.09 ha but within 1020.25 ha. If they are part of the Wild Life Sanctuary, under Section 27 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, such constructions are not allowed and are illegal unless the boundary of the wild life sanctuary itself is changed under Section 26A of the Act.

The constructions in question are said to be after the 1991 notification. Thus, either it should be clearly declared that the area is part of the wild life sanctuary and in such case all constructions in the said area should be removed or the boundary of the wild life sanctuary itself should be appropriately demarcated and laid down.

The NGT directed that this exercise should be done by a joint Committee comprising of Chief Wildlife Warden, Uttar Pradesh and nominees of National Board for Wildlife and Forest Division of MoEF&CC. The nodal agency would be the nominee of the National Board for Wildlife for coordination and compliance. Report has to be furnished by the Committee to the Tribunal within three months. The matter would be listed again before the NGT on February 10, 2021.