Noida Airport Site: A Centre to be Built for Rescued Animals

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In a significant development, authorities have announced the establishment of a rescue and rehabilitation center in Dhanauri to assist the wild animals affected by the ongoing construction of the Noida International Airport. This move comes after Yamuna International Airport Pvt Ltd (YIAPL), the developer of the airport site in Jewar, expressed concerns about the wildlife hindering the construction activities and requested the government’s assistance in relocating them.

The state government, in response to YIAPL’s request, instructed the forest department to expedite the construction work within a span of six months. The proposed facility, an animal care center near Noida Airport, will cover an expansive area of 10 hectares, with an estimated cost of approximately Rs 4.5 crore.

YIAPL CEO, Christoph Schnellmann, highlighted the depletion of food sources for the animals due to the commencement of full-fledged construction activities involving manpower and machinery. Species such as nilgai, blackbuck, Indian gazelle, monkeys, golden jackals, jungle cats, and sarus cranes have been found in the vicinity of the project site.

Recognizing the potential impact of the airport project on the region’s wildlife, a meeting was held on May 9, chaired by the chief secretary to discuss the biodiversity conservation plan. Arun Vir Singh, CEO of the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), stated that the civil aviation department’s special secretary suggested the urgent requirement of an interim rescue and rehabilitation center for animals to mitigate the project’s impact.

The additional chief secretary of the forest department affirmed that the center’s construction could be completed within six months, provided the necessary funds are made available. While the estimated cost of the center is Rs 4.5 crore, an additional Rs 90 lakhs has been allocated for the restoration of the Dhanauri wetland.

The Noida International Airport Ltd (NIAL), the government’s special purpose vehicle for the project, will finance the rescue center, while the forest department will oversee its establishment. As per the biodiversity conservation plan prepared by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), blackbuck and sarus crane are the two key species found in the vicinity of the airport site. A comprehensive survey conducted over an area of 1,334 hectares, including the first phase of the airport project and a 25 km radius around it, revealed a population of 258 blackbucks and recorded 76 sarus crane sightings in 31 independent instances, as documented by WII.

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