Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding failure of NHAI in complying with environmental norms, 06/03/2023
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Prem Prakash Prajapati Vs Project Director, PIU Sonipat and Others dated 06/03/2023.
Grievance in the application is against failure of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in complying with its environmental obligations in the course of construction of 8-lane highway No. 44 from Mukarba chowk to Singhu border, Delhi. It is stated that near village Khampur lot of dust is generated in absence of sprinkling of water. It is further stated that 161 trees have been cut in January 2021.
The report filed by the joint committee, January 21, 2023 said that NHAI has not carried out plantations at the project site in spite of availability of land at many places. This is the gross violation of the condition stipulated in the clearance issued. Dust mitigation measures at the project site are not being taken. As a result, adjacent villagers are being exposed to dust which could have been avoided.
The joint committee report also put forward an action plan for remediation.
The NGT directed NHAI to take remedial measures for dust mitigation during construction and operation phases. The tribunal noted that the report showed massive violations of guidelines of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways 'Green Highways Policy, 2015' with respect to plantation, transportation, beautification and maintenance. "NHAI has to be held accountable for violations on polluter pays principle even if violations are by its officers or contractors," said the NGT.
The NGT said that any activity resulting in generation of dust has to be accompanied by dust control measures which have not been taken and ordered NHAI to pay compensation of Rs. 2 crores and this will be deposited with PCCF (HoFF), Haryana within one month.
The amount has to be utilized for restoration measures in the area by suitable plantation in addition to the remedial measures to be taken by the NHAI by preparing an action plan with the approval of the joint committee of the Central Pollution Control Board and the Director, Environment, Delhi within one month. The approved plan has to be executed within three months.