The Punjab and Haryana high court has stayed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on cutting trees for the Bist-Doab canal project.
The green tribunal had on May 19 restrained Punjab from cutting any tree for infrastructure projects without its permission. The HC bench of justice SS Saron and justice Gurmit Ram passed the order on the petition of farmers of villages Katarian (Nawan Shahar) and Kadiana (Jalandhar) seeking reply of various parties by July 19.
The canal is currently being modernised by the state irrigation department and the work, as per the petition, is to be completed by June 30.
Appearing for farmers, senior advocate Gurminder Singh and advocate Aman Sharma submitted that that the state government had obtained necessary approval from the forest department as well as necessary clearance from the environment ministry for felling of trees on banks of the Bist Doab canal before the start of the project.
It was also argued that felling of trees was necessary for the Rs 320-crore project that aims at restoring the water carrying capacity of the canal. “If the project is stopped at this stage, it would result in flooding of the villages during monsoon as canal has been dismantled at various places. It will become a major source of flooding of the area endangering the life and property of the inhabitants of the area,” they argued.