Indiscriminate dumping of soil in rivers Chenab and Tawi during construction of a stretch of a national highway has led the National Green Tribunal to issue notices to the Centre, concerned authorities and companies on a plea for enforcement of its earlier order prohibiting it.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar sought replies from Environment Ministry, Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways, Jammu and Kashmir government, Hindustan Construction Company Ltd, Gammon India Ltd, state pollution control board and others, within two weeks.
On March 30, the NGT had heard a petition filed by Ramban resident Amaresh Singh against rampant dumping of soil in Chenab and Tawi rivers and restrained the authorities from throwing debris in the water bodies while constructing the stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway between Udhampur and Banihal.
In a fresh application, Singh has alleged that after the order was passed by the tribunal, the dumping of muck and debris was stalled for a month. However, such indiscriminate dumping in the two rivers has started again.
The plea said the work on four-laning of the stretch of the highway was being executed in “a reckless manner” and loose soil was being dumped directly into the rivers.
“The respondent construction companies in connivance with the other respondents have again started recklessly misusing the natural resources. They have again started dumping the debris directly and indirectly into the rivers, thereby violating the orders of the tribunal,” the plea, filed through advocate Swarn Kishore Singh, said.
The petitioner has alleged that “state of pollution” on national highway was such that sometimes even during the day, vehicles have to switch on their headlights to see through the dusty road.