Haryana: NGT slaps ₹2-crore green fine on NHAI for violations on NH-44
NGT said the Highways Authority had failed to comply with dust-control measures or plant trees in lieu of the ones felled for construction; air pollution control norms are an essential component of sustainable development, and any activity resulting in generation of dust has to be accompanied by dust-control measures, which, in this case, have not been taken. NGT bench
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been told to pay environmental compensation of ₹2 crore for failing to comply with dust-control measures on the stretch from Mukarba chowk to Singhu border, on national highway 44, in Sonepat district.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) principal bench, headed by chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, has also directed the NHAI to take up a plantation drive while working on this stretch.
“We require NHAI to pay compensation of ₹2 crore, to the principal chief conservator of forests & head of forest force, Haryana, within a month. This will be in addition to levy of compensation by any other authority. The remedial action may be taken expeditiously and for the past violation,” reads the order.
“The amount is to be utilised for restoration measures in the area by suitable plantation, in addition to the remedial measures to be taken by NHAI by preparing an action plan with the approval of joint committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and director, environment, Delhi, within a month. The approved plan may be executed within three months,” it added.
The bench observed that air pollution control norms are an essential component of sustainable development, and any activity resulting in generation of dust has to be accompanied by dust-control measures, which, in this case, have not been taken.
Resident had complained of dust, tree felling
In his complaint, Prem Prakash Prajapati, a local, had accused NHAI of failing to comply with its environmental obligations in the course of construction of eight-lane from Mubarka Chowk to Singhu Border, Delhi.
He alleged that the construction work on the highway had resulted in dust generation, creating problems for residents of Khampur village in Delhi, Palla Mod, and Singhola Mod.
The applicant mentioned that 161 trees were cut in January 2021, though 1,760 trees were claimed to have been planted at Garhi Mandu, near Yamuna Bank, 26 km away from Khampur, which does not in any manner mitigate the dust generated by the project. About 100 four-wheelers, trucks and buses pass per minute on the highway and each vehicle generates about 404 gm of CO2 per mile (1.6 Km), meaning 252 gm of CO2 per vehicle per kilometer is generated, he added.
Last year, the NGT had formed a joint committee of CPCB and the Delhi environment department, which had found that no dust mitigation measures were taken by NHAI at Khampur village, Palla Mod, and Singhola Mod. The report also stated that NHAI had not carried out plantations at the project site despite the availability of land at many places.