Order of the High Court of Meghalaya regarding felling of trees in Shillong to make way for the Shillong-Dawki Road Project, 11/07/2023
Order of the High Court of Meghalaya in the matter of Kaustav Paul Vs State of Meghalaya & Others dated 11/07/2023.
The matter related to felling of trees in Shillong to make way for the Shillong-Dawki Road Project. The Shillong-Dawki Road Project under Japanese funding is divided in five packages.
The PIL filed by Kaustav Paul pertains to felling of trees in Shillong as part of package I of the entire project.
According to the status report filed by the state, the technical evaluation of bids is under process and the work for the first package has not yet been allotted after the previous contractor abandoned the project.
Even if the contractor were to be appointed, it is evident that the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism is unwilling to part with any land and the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited is of the opinion that it is not possible to change the alignment at this stage to avoid any land being taken from the observatory of the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism.
Thus, in effect, even if the contractor were to be appointed, till the IIG relents, work under package I cannot be undertaken, noted the High Court.
As far as the other packages are concerned, there are many other problems with the landowners and though some work in the undisputed areas has been carried on, it does not appear that any of the packages is ready for work being taken up or the requisite work being delivered.
In such a scenario, the High Court of Meghalaya, July 11, 2023 directed that further felling of trees for the purpose of package I should not be carried out till such time that the work under package I is awarded to a contractor and the contractor is able to take up the construction unimpeded including near the observatory of the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism.
The court directed for submission of report and listed the matter for July 31, 2023.