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Verdict on wetlands

A Calcutta High Court division bench on Friday identified the 1,000-acre wetlands in Dankuni as an indigenous wildlife habitat and ordered real estate developers to stop construction activities in the area.

Acting Chief Justice Ashim Kumar Banerjee and Justice Debangshu Basak, in their final judgment, directed a court-appointed committee to inspect the area and report any violation of environment norms by builders.

The court said any destruction caused to the wetlands because of construction should be mended.

“Any further construction on the said land can be made only after obtaining permission from the committee,” the verdict says.

The wetlands on either side of the Durgapur Expressway in Dankuni, about an hour north of Calcutta, has been a haven for rare and migratory birds, environmentalists said. The area is home to the fishing cat, the state animal of Bengal.

“These are the primary examples we submitted before the court along with documented proof,” said environment activist Bonani Kakkar, who spearheaded the fight to protect the wetlands.