Moved by the devastation caused by flash floods in Uttarakhand,the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday took it upon itself to inquire into the state of affairs,especially massive constructions on the hills and its impact on environment.
The green panel,headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar,noted: The disaster in Uttarakhand needs no evidence. Having being mindful of the damage caused to the ecology and environment of the state,it is a matter which certainly calls for interference by a specialised tribunal like the National Green Tribunal.
Issuing show-cause notices to the state government and the Ministry of Environment and Forests,the NGT sought an explanation regarding what ecological studies with respect to the affected areas have been carried out by the state or Central agencies. What is the basis on which massive constructions are being raised on the various hills of Uttarakhand and whether such permissions to construct are backed by any data study or master or zonal development plans, questioned the green panel.
The court asked them to respond whether any study had been carried out by them in relation to environment,its likely damage and the loss of forest cover as a result of rampant road and building construction in the state.
Uttarakhand shall also place on record as to what precautionary and preventive steps are being taken or planned to be taken by the respondents… to ensure that such ecological and environmental disaster does not reoccur,particularly with the extent of extensive damage to person and property as has occurred during the recent times, said the green tribunal. It directed the state government and the MoEF to place on record the entire list of projects,pending clearances by their different agencies,and the extent of ecological and environmental impact arising from such projects.
The court also issued notices to the Border Roads Organization (BRO) and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and sought their replies.
It has fixed the matter for further hearing on July 26.