Wednesday, July 10, 2024

NGT constitutes 4-member Committee for inspection of 2620 hectares wide Kabartal Wetland, Begusarai

On July 8, 2024, Eastern Zone Bench, National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a 4-member Committee comprising of the Senior Scientist, Bihar State Pollution Control Board (BSPCB),  Senior Officer, Bihar State Wetland Authority, Divisional Forest Officer, Begusarai, and District Magistrate, Begusarai, or his representative not below the rank of Additional District Magistrate.  The Committee has been tasked to inspect the site of Kabartal Wetland about 21 Km from the Begusarai town. This Wetland is claimed to be the largest Oxbow Lake in India and in Asia and is the first Ramsar Site of Bihar. 

This Ramsar Site spans 2620 hectares of open water and marshes intersperses with plantation and as per the 2019 post monsoon report nearly 82% of the site was a marsh (of which 25% cultivated) and 16% is open water and the rest is plantation or borrow land.

Subhas Datta, the Applicant has sought a direction for taking steps for proper upkeep and preservation of Oxbow Wetland named as ‘Kabartal’ in Bihar as well as the green cover of the Bird Sanctuary and the Water Catchment Zone for Begusarai District of Bihar. 

The site was notified as Bird Sanctuary by the Government of Bihar vide Notification dated June 20, 1989. The Wetland is stated to contain a cluster of 16-17 water bodies in total and is a catchment area for rainwater but the same has been encroached over a period of time and its area has been allowed to be reduced. The Committee has been asked to submit its report within four weeks on affidavit.

The District Magistrate, Begusarai has been made the Nodal Office for all logistic purposes and for filing the Report of the Committee on affidavit. The order has impleaded the District Magistrate, Begusarai, and the Divisional Forest Officer, Begusarai in the present Original Application. The matter is listed for hearing on July 21, 2024. The order was passed by B. Amit Sthalekar, Judicial Member, NGT  and Dr. Arun Kumar Verma, Expert Member, NGT.

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