NEW DELHI: While travelling from Nagpur in Maharashtra to Chhindwara in Madhya Pradesh recently, Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar made a video of the environmental damage being caused by the construction of a highway for his colleague and Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari. The video was of trees being damaged by concrete dust from the under-construction flyover, soil erosion and debris lying along the Narsinghpur-Chhindwara-Nagpur National Highway 547.
“I was alarmed to see the damage caused to trees during road construction. I turned a citizen journalist and shot a video on my iPhone,” said Javadekar.
Gadkari showed the video to Gadkari, and wrote an official letter to him. Gadkari sent a detailed reply to Javadekar, explaining action taken on his “complaint”. “The muck generated during construction which was dumped along the road side has been removed and disposed off at suitable place... Road works in hilly terrain have been carried out within diverted forest land only. Due to constraint of forest land at some locations on hilly terrain on Narsinghpur road, steep hill cutting occurred. “To avoid soil erosion, bamboo plants have been planted on the side of valley for soil stabilisation in Sillewani Ghat on Nagpur road,” Gadkari wrote in his reply. He added that his ministry has issued guidelines to include the provision of 1 per cent of civil cost of every project for greening of national highways.