New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 2 crore on National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for failing to implement dust control measures and start a plantation while constructing a section of the highway from Mukarba Chowk to the Singhu border in Delhi.
The petitioner has claimed that the NHAI had broken its environmental commitments and that dust had been produced at Singhola Mod, Palla Mod, and Khampur village in Delhi as a result of highway construction activity.
Also, the application claimed that plantations for trees removed for the highway had been completed at Garhi Mandu, about 26 km from Khampur, which does not help reduce the dust that is produced where trees have been cut down.
Last year, the NGT had asked for a report on the matter from a joint committee of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Environment Department of Delhi. The joint committee’s report said that no dust mitigation measures were taken by the NHAI at Khampur village, Palla Mod, and Singhola Mod.
The report had stated that the NHAI has not planted any trees at the project site, despite the fact that there is land available in various locations and that it amounts to flagrant violation of the requirement set forth in the clearance granted.
The recent NGT judgement mentions that the joint committee’s report reveals serious violations of Guidelines of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways titled ‘Green Highways, Policy, 2015’ regarding planting, transplanting, beautification, and upkeep.
The judgment further says that the NHAI is required to implement corrective actions for dust mitigation during the construction and operating stages, including covering construction materials, periodic water sprinkling, planting, and air quality monitoring.
The NHAI has been directed to create an action plan with the joint committee’s approval and carry it out within three months.
Moreover, the Rs 2 crore fine is to be used for restoration measures in the area by taking up suitable plantations.