The National Green Tribunal has taken exception to indiscriminate dumping of soil in rivers Chenab and Tawi for construction of road on the Udhampur to Banihal stretch of the national highway and restrained authorities from throwing any debris in the water bodies.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to Environment Ministry, Ministry of Roads Transport and Highways, Jammu and Kashmir government, Hindustan Construction Company Ltd, Gammon India Ltd, state pollution control board, District Magistrates of Ramban and Udhampur and others while seeking their reply within two weeks.
“In the meanwhile, we restrain all the respondents from throwing any debris/ muck resulting from the construction of the road from Udhampur to Banihal in any of the rivers directly or indirectly including, Tawi and Chenab,” the bench said.
The NGT passed the order while hearing a plea filed by Ramban resident Amaresh Singh against rampant dumping of soil in Chenab and Tawi rivers without taking prior environment clearance.
The matter is now listed for next hearing on August 5.
“Direct the respondent authorities to keep the rivers free from any pollution and contamination and further keep forests free from any intrusion which harms their integrity,” the plea said.
The plea, filed through advocate Swarn Kishore Singh, said the work on four-laning of Udhampur-Banihal stretch of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway is being executed in a careless manner and the loose soil is being dumped directly into the river.
“When the work of construction of the widening of the national highway was delegated to Gammon by Ministry of Roads by virtue of a contract, Gammon was supposed to execute it themselves. But the respondent has further delegated this crucial work to some local contractors who are recklessly putting the rivers, forests and environment at ransom,” the plea alleged.