National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has moved the National Green Tribunal seeking permission to build a bridge across the Yamuna and its approach roads for the Delhi-Meerut Expressway. This has prompted an NGT bench headed by its Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar to seek response from Ministries of Environment and Forests and Urban Development, Yamuna campaigner Manoj Mishra and others on NHAI’s plea.
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The tribunal has also sought response from the Principal Committee, headed by Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources and comprising Special Secretary of MoEF, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, Delhi Chief Secretary, DDA, Delhi Jal Board, municipal corporations, Commissioner and others.
Professors C R Babu, A K Gosain, Brij Gopal and A A Kazmi of IIT Roorkee are also members of the Principal Committee, which was constituted by the green panel for implementation of ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017’.
“Notice. Reply to the application be filed within two weeks. In the meanwhile, comments of the Principal Committee may also be called for,” the bench, also comprising Justice U D Salvi, said and posted the matter for next hearing on November 15.
NHAI moved NGT in view of a 2015 order saying that construction of “new barrages and roads, railway and metro bridges and embankments and bunds” should not be permitted.
However, in exceptional cases, “a critical impact of their potential impact on flood aggravation and environmental clearances should be made mandatory,” it had said.
In its plea, NHAI has said that currently the route between Delhi and Meerut (NH-58) has frequent jams causing lot of inconvenience to traffic between the two cities and the project will reduce the distance between them to 40-45 minutes from three hours at present.
The Delhi-Meerut Expressway will be built through public -private-partnership mode and become operational by March 2018. The project starts from National Highway-2 at Ring Road in Delhi and ends at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.