The National Green Tribunal today directed the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) and the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) to clarify their stand on widening of NH-34 from Dharasu to Gangotri in Uttarakhand.
A vacation bench headed Justice U D Salvi asked both of them to make a submission stating that no developmental activity should be carried out in contravention to the provisions of the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone notification and all arrangements be made for muck disposal.
"The counsel appearing on behalf of MoRTH and BRO seek time to consider making a statement to the effect that no developmental activity shall be carried out in contravention of the provisions of the approved zonal master plan and the provision shall be made for muck disposal as well as for treatment and restoration of the portions of the said road affected by landslides," the bench said while granting them time till July 4.
The green panel also noted that the 94 km stretch of NH-34 from Dharasu to Gangotri falls within the eco-sensitive zone and the project is a part of the infrastructure development for defence purposes.
The BRO had earlier told the NGT that Chardham highway project connecting the four pilgrimage towns of Uttarakhand is extremely important from a strategic point of view as it is close to the China border.
It had said the improvement of the national highway will facilitate better connection with India-China border roads. However, all possible precautions will be taken to ensure that stability of mountain does not get disturbed in the process.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Birendra Singh Matura and others alleging that the road widening work to connect Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri was being carried in violation of the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone notification.
It had claimed there was continuous blasting of mountains and dumping of debris in the river Ganga in the stretch of NH-34 between Gangotri and Bhaironghati.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December last year had laid the foundation stone for 900-km-long Chardham highway development project to be built with an investment of Rs 12,000 crore in the state.
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