NGT unhappy over Chardham highway project execution

New Delhi,¬†¬†¬†Expressing dissatisfaction over the Central government’s execution of Chardham all-weather highway project in Uttarakhand, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday asked the authorities to stop dumping muck in the river.

The Tribunal also noted that the project’s execution was being done without having proper permission with regard to forest land and environment clearance.

The 900-km-long highway, which will reach Hindu pilgrimages of Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttarakhand, is being built through 53 separate projects rather than a single project. According to the petitioners, the project had been broken down to avoid taking clearances.

The NGT also sought a detailed list of all 480 sites designated for dumping muck as part of project and directed the Central government to submit clearances obtained to for muck dumping, which also involves forest land.

A bench headed by Acting Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim and comprising Justice S.P. Wangdi and expert member Nagin Nanda, was hearing an ongoing matter on alleged environmental violations by the Centre in executing the Rs 12,000-crore Chardham highway widening project.

The bench said that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) was still vague on the issues of environmental clearances for certain stretches, slope stabilization and forest clearances it had obtained to fell trees and dump muck in the Himalayan state.

“We do realize that this project is of national importance, but why aren’t the permissions and other things in order? We have repeatedly mentioned that we have to comply with the principle of sustainable development,” Justice Rahim said.

The bench has directed the government to immediately stop muck dumping and listed the matter for Wednesday for further hearing.