MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court sought counter affidavit from the Union Ministry of Environment on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that challenged an amendment made in the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification in 2013, exempting Highways authorities from obtaining environmental clearance for expansion projects that are up to 100 km in length.
A Bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and B Pugalendhi expressed anguish that under the guise of expansion of Highways, hundreds of trees are being cut down with almost zero afforestation activity.
The undertaking made by the government to plant 10 saplings for every tree cut down by them is also not being implemented, they added. The judges also sought a counter affidavit from the Ministry and adjourned the case to September 18. The PIL was filed by one R Fatima, who is the Secretary of Thoothukudi District Peace Committee.