NEW DELHI: The National Green Tribunal on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and Uttarakhand government on a plea moved by an NGO over indiscriminate muck dumping while constructing Chardham highway project.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel was hearing a plea seeking a time-bound muck disposal plan for the Chardham highway project, which aims to provide connectivity to four shrines of Uttarakhand.
The petition was filed by NGO 'Common Cause' seeking directions to submit plan at the earliest and bar the project proponent from constructing a road until proper disposal of muck already generated was undertaken. The next date of hearing on the matter is on August 26th.
"During construction of road under the Chardham project along NH 108, the debris/muck is being directly thrown along the slopes next to the road. The debris then slides down directly into the river. This process will be much faster with the onset of monsoons, thereby causing concerns of an impending disaster in the form of landslides and flooding. Indiscriminate muck dumping into the river also raises concerns about excessive pollution in the river and alteration of its course" the petition says.
"The NGT has asked the government to reply on our plea. There is a National Action plan on climate change and an Uttarakhand State Action Plan on climate change which should be followed by the government while constructing the project" said Gaurav Bansal, advocate representing 'Common Cause'.
"Despite numerous reports underlining the requirement of a muck disposal policy during road construction in a hilly terrain, and debris being held responsible for triggering landslides in various scientific reports, the respondent (government) has failed to bring out a proper muck disposal policy.
The respondent (government) is also dumping the debris along the slopes and into river beds" says the petition further. Environmental clearances have not been sought for the project in its entirety and the forest clearances have only been sought for stretches of less than 100 km.
Environmental Impact Assessment has not been conducted for the project, the petition added.