Updated: July 30, 2019 4:51:45 am
The Supreme Court on Monday hit out at the Uttarakhand government over the development of a road in the reserve area of the Rajaji National Park and ordered the cancellation of the project.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta, which perused a report of the Court-mandated Central Empowered Committee, also asked the state to approach the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests for environmental clearance for the project.
The court has been hearing a plea against laying roads and building bridges and culverts on the Laldhang Chillarkhal Road, passing through the corridor between the Rajaji and Corbett Tiger Reserves. During the last hearing, the state government counsel had said that the existing road was not being widened.
However, in Monday’s hearing, the court noted the CEC report referred to construction of seven-metre-wide bridges.
“Last time, you told us that not even an inch is being widened. But it’s not correct. Look at the bridges. They are seven metres wide,” Justice Gupta remarked.
Citing the CEC report, Advocate A D N Rao, assisting the top court as amicus curiae, said the action of the state also violated the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act. He pointed out that the road falls within the buffer region of the Rajaji Tiger Reserve and that the construction was cleared without advice from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
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