The Pune Bench of the National Green Tribunal has ordered a panel probe into National Highway Authority of India's alleged violations of the specific conditions imposed on it by the Environmental Clearance (EC) granted to it for up-gradation of the Khed-Sinnar section of the NH-50 Pune Nashik Highway. The Environmental Clearance was granted to it in 2013 for upgrading the two-lane carriageway to four-lane.
The Applicants submitted to the NGT that the National Highway Authority of India has not complied with the requirement of compulsory afforestation, construction of rain water harvesting infrastructure imposed on it in the Environment Clearance and has violated the Indian Road Congress's Guidelines for construction of highways while working on the highway. It has also allegedly exceeded the permissible forest land diversion limit that it was allowed to divert for constructing the highway.
The NGT Bench comprising of Justice Sheo Kumar Singh and Dr. Satyawan Singh Garbyal ordered constitution of a committee comprising of Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Maharashtra, a representative of NHAI and Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests of the Pune Office of the Environment Ministry to look into the allegations. The Committee shall submit a factual and action taken report on the allegations pertaining in the application within six weeks. The Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Regional Office of the Environment Ministry in Pune shall serve as the nodal agency for the probe.
The Bench also ordered the National Highway Authority of India to file its reply with the Bench within six weeks.
The matter shall be next heard on 11th December, 2020.
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