Char Dham panel meets without chairman’s nod

Updated on Oct 18, 2020 03:03 PM IST
The meeting, however, was held without its chairman Ravi Chopra’s approval or participation. Some members alleged that holding the meeting showed clear interference of the government as it was held on direction of Uttarakhand chief secretary Om Prakash.
The HPC recommended that the width of the Char Dham road project should be 5.5 metres instead of 7.5 meters being constructed by state’s public works department (PWD )to Supreme Court in third week of July 2020.(HT file photo)
The HPC recommended that the width of the Char Dham road project should be 5.5 metres instead of 7.5 meters being constructed by state’s public works department (PWD )to Supreme Court in third week of July 2020.(HT file photo)
Hindustan Times, Dehradun | BySuparna Roy

The Supreme Court appointed high powered committee(HPC) formed to monitor environmental damages on the Char Dham highway project met on Saturday to decide the ‘future course of action’ of the project. The meeting, however, was held without its chairman Ravi Chopra’s approval or participation. Some members alleged that holding the meeting showed clear interference of the government as it was held on direction of Uttarakhand chief secretary Om Prakash.

Ravi Chopra, chairperson of the HPC on Friday wrote to Ravinath Raman, the newly appointed member secretary of the committee stating, “… you cannot call any meeting of the HPC without the concurrence of the Chair… As a Member Secretary, you are accountable for the HPC which is an independent body created by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and answerable to the Hon’ble Court only. You have no authority to impose any other’s directions for its functioning… As you have mentioned in your notice that you are calling this meeting ‘as per the directions of the Chief Secretary’ is highly objectionable and a direct infringement in the functioning of the HPC.” A copy of the letter is with HT.

The letter further mentions, “As Member Secretary your duty is to carry out the orders of the Supreme Court and not the Chief Secretary. I have not agreed to your calling the meeting tomorrow (October 17, 2020). The said meeting has no locus. It is without any authority. I request you to withdraw the notice forthwith so that the functioning of the HPC can continue as per Hon’ble Supreme Court’s directions.”

On October 15, a letter was issued by Om Prakash, chief secretary of Uttarakhand stating that Raman was appointed as the member secretary of the HPC.

The letter mentioned that in the past few months since no meetings were held, the workings of HPC is being hampered and therefore, the newly appointed member secretary should ensure that a meeting of the HPC is conducted within two days.

Speaking on the meeting, Raman said, “As the matter is sub-judice, I cannot disclose the details of the meeting, but it was mostly about the future course of action regarding the functioning of the HPC.”

Two members of the HPC, Navin Juyal and Hemant Dhyani released a statement on Saturday in solidarity with the chairperson.

The statement mentioned, “We, the members of the HPC, herein, find the urgency to place a statement with regards to the complete arbitrary way of functioning of the recently appointed Member Secretary. The chairman HPC did not approve the holding of HPC meeting…however, the member secretary went ahead with conducting the meeting which according to us is complete disrespect towards the authority of the HPC and violation of the democratic sanctity of the HPC which has been wilfully attacked and the place of the Chair has been brazenly compromised.”

They further said, “We have thus not participated in this meeting and issue this statement in solidarity with the HPC chairman in support and appreciation of his honest and dedicated mission and commitments towards safe and disaster resilient Char Dham Pariyojana with due concerns of the Himalayan environment. We reiterate our stand with him and demand that an independent functioning of the HPC should be restored.”

In the third week of July, a group of minority members of the HPC had recommended to the Supreme Court that the width of the Char Dham road project should be 5.5 metres. The road being constructed by the project implementing agencies (like BRO, Uttarakhand PWD, MoRTH) ranged from 7-12m. On September 8, the apex court upheld the recommendation of the minority members of HPC and asked the implementing agencies to reduce the width of the road to 5.5m for the whole project. Chopra had alleged that work continued as per the old norms and in violation of the SC order.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Representational image

    Three top leaders of MVA become inmates in Mumbai's Arthur jail

    Nationalist Congress Party leaders Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik and Sena leader Sanjay Raut, who have been arrested in money laundering cases by the Enforcement Directorate, are now lodged in Arthur Road Jail in three different barracks. Malik, who was arrested in February in a money laundering case, is currently admitted to the Criti Care Hospital in Kurla for treatment. He is admitted to a private hospital for the last two months.

  • Officials said that all the four employees were removed from service in line in line with the recommendations of a special task force set up last year by Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha to scrutinise and recommend cases for removal from government service, for alleged terror links. (PTI/ Representational image)

    Bitta Karate’s wife among 4 Jammu and Kashmir employees sacked for terror links

    The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday terminated four employees from service, including the son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and wife of former militant Bitta Karate - amid probe over terror links, officials said on Saturday. Dr Muheet Ahmad Bhat, and Majid Hussain Qadiri - both of them linked to the University of Kashmir - are the two others employees who have been sacked.

  • Security personnel stand guard at a site where militants hurled a grenade towards CRPF bunker near Ali Masjid Eidgah area, in Srinagar on Saturday. (ANI)

    CRPF man injured in grenade attack in Srinagar

    Suspected militants targeted paramilitary CRPF with a grenade in Srinagar on Saturday, just a day ahead of Independence Day. A CRPF personnel was injured in the attack in the Old City, Eidgah. Srinagar police said that the CRPF personnel received minor injuries in the attack. Local reports said that the grenade was lobbed towards a CRPF bunker in Eidgah in which a sub-inspector of the CRPF was wounded.

  • Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday laid the foundation stone of 25 District Development Council and Block Development Council buildings in J&K. (ANI File Photo)

    Will strike last nail in coffin of terrorism in one year: Jammu and Kashmir L-G Manoj Sinha

    Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said that within a year government will push the last nail in the coffin of terrorism. Sinha today laid the foundation stone of 25 District Development Council and Block Development Council buildings in J&K, besides inaugurating 1000 Amrit Sarovars across J&K UT, in a function at SKICC, Srinagar.

  • Shah Faesal was the IAS topper in 2010 and worked in various positions in the Jammu & Kashmir administration. Faesal, who had resigned from his job and reinstated in April, has been posted as deputy secretary in the Union Ministry of Tourism. (Reuters file photo)

    Shah Faesal appointed deputy secretary in Union ministry of tourism

    IAS officer Shah Faesal who had resigned from his job and reinstated in April has been posted as deputy secretary in the Union Ministry of Tourism. He was detained at the Delhi airport on August 4, 2019, a day before Parliament pushed through constitutional changes, revoking Article 370 and 35A that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the erstwhile state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, August 14, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now