Waste Treatment Plant in Haryana's Basai Wetland Threatens Bird Habitat

Reported by

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch

Last updated on

September 25, 2021

Location of Conflict

Basai

Gurugram

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Waste Management

(

)

People Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

1

ha

Starting Year

2017

State

Haryana

Sector

Infrastructure

The Basai wetland, spread across 260 hectares, was discovered as a birdwatching destination in 2001 when ornithologist and author Bill Harvey made a pit stop at the Basai railway track, en route the Sultanpur National Park. A 2001 field report of the Delhi Bird Club mentions that the Basai wetland is spread over an area bigger than Sultanpur national park, a landmark bird sanctuary a few kilometres further down the GurugramSultanpur road in Haryana. In May 2017, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) granted permission to a construction company to set up a construction and demolition (C&D) waste treatment plant on a 3.5acre plot in the wetland. The plant is estimated to treat over 500 tonnes of waste every day. Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar laid the foundation stone of the plant on June 17, 2017. On June 22, a Delhibased nonprofit, Delhi Bird Foundation, filed a petition at the National Green Tribunal (NGT), stating that thousands of birds will lose their habitat if the C&D plant is constructed. The petitioner had sought a stay on the project contending that the Basai wetland, though not declared a wetland under the 2010 Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, was a valuable water body. In July 2017, the NGT ordered a status quo after taking note of the adverse impact of the C&D plant on the water body, namely, water pollution as a result of dumping of waste. However, on January 10, 2018, the NGT lifted its stay on the construction of the plant after perusing the revenue records and noting that the land in question has not been identified as a wetland by the Haryana government. More than 240 species of birds such as Marbled Teal, Sarus Crane, Blacknecked Stork and Asian Dowitcher visit the wetland for their annual migration. Flamingos and Black Francolin, the state bird of Haryana, that were once common in the wetland are now rare visitors because of regular dumping of plastic and other waste even before the construction of the C&D plant has begun. According to the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, MCG officials claim that the area where the plant is coming up is degraded land and not a wetland at all. A study on the Basai wetland, published in the International Journal of Economic Research in October 2017, highlights how wetlands help in maintaining a healthy balance between the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and is a major source of groundwater recharge. The Basai wetland is critical to a city like Gurugram, which faces frequent flooding almost every monsoon. An open space like a wetland provides relief from waterlogging in the concrete jungles. Basai wetland also qualifies to be declared a Ramsar, site which implies that it has international importance, according to a 2004 survey by the Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History. Citing a Central Groundwater Board report on all water bodies in the area being a source of groundwater recharge, the survey also stated that Basai wetland was important to Gurugram at a time when the city's groundwater level was falling at an alarming rate. In December 2018, NGT vacated the stay on the construction of the plant. In December 2019, MCG started the plant and is now planning to expand the plant's capacity of waste management. MCG Commissioner Amit Khatri was quoted as saying, "We have taken steps to solve this problem and C&D waste management unit has been started by IL&FS at Basai. The processed waste will be used in making tiles, bricks, crushers, etc."

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Opposition against environmental degradation

Region Classification

Urban

Type of Land

Common

Type of Common Land

Non-Forest (Other than Grazing Land)

Total investment involved (in Crores):

13

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Has the Conflict Ended?

Yes

When did it end?

December 2019

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Environmental Laws, Other

Legislations/Policies Involved

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community? What was the decision of the concerned government department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Violation of environmental laws, Violation of standard international laws

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

National Green Tribunal

Case Number

Original Application No. 418 of 2017

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Whether criminal law was used against protestors

Official name of the criminal law. Did the case reach trial?

Reported Details of the Violation:

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Advocacy (for inclusion in courts), Campaigns (Grassroots organisations/press releases/media)

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Muncipal Corporation of Gurugram, National Green Tribunal, Haryana Urban Development Authority, Haryana State Pollution Control Board

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

IL&FS Environmental Infrastructure and Services Limited

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of Corporate Authorities Approached

Other Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Delhi Bird Foundation

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:
No Images Available

Documented By

Aditi Patil

Reviewed By

Aditi Patil

Updated By

Aditi Patil

Edited By

Aditi PatilLand Conflict Watch
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