Friday, November 23, 2012

Fazilka colony: SC panel directs state to guard area’s biodiversity

Praful Chander Nagpal

Fazilka, November 22
The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), constituted by the Supreme Court of India, has asked the Chief Secretary, Punjab, to initiate necessary action for allegedly compromising on environmental norms for the proposed PUDA Colony on the bank of the extinct Badha Lake wetland area in Fazilka.

Reacting on the complaint of Navdeep Asija, general secretary, Graduate Welfare Association Fazilka (GWAF), on the issue of damage to environment and biodiversity in the wetland area near the Deputy Commissioner's residence, where PUDA proposes to sell 56 residential plots by carving out a colony, the CEC has sent a letter to the Chief Secretary asking him to intervene.

Notably, the Central Empowered Committee is constituted by the Supreme Court to check pressure on the forests, the unsustainable removal and the real threat of massive destruction to wildlife. The Supreme Court intervened and played a pioneering role in its efforts to save India's forest and wildlife.

The petitioner, Navdeep Asija, has alleged that the authorities had ignored the report of the District Forest Officer (DFO), Ferozepur, in which he stated that there are 355 trees on different khasra numbers of the land where PUDA wants to carve out the colony.

The DFO has also admitted that with the felling of the trees, there could be an adverse affect on biodiversity in the area.

It is pertinent to mention here that the green belt in Fazilka city is alarmingly less than one per cent. "No sincere efforts to enhance the area under green cover are being made but contrary to it, the authorities have been sacrificing the existing green cover to facilitate unplanned development," regretted Asija.

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