Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project: Decide on razing 19-ha mangroves within a month, HC tells MCZMA
The Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday directed the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) to decide within a month on the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited’s (NHSRCL) proposal to clear 19-hectare (ha) mangrove cover in Thane and Palghar for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.
In its proposal to MCZMA, NHSRCL stated that 1,50,752 mangrove trees spread over 18.92ha would be affected by the corridor. On December 22, 2018, the coastal authority asked them to first obtain the high court’s nod to consider a proposal seeking removal of mangroves.
The rail corporation then approached the HC, stating that of the 508-km high-speed corridor, 155.642km passes through Maharashtra, affecting 131.30ha of forests, including mangroves spread over 32.43ha. The petition said of the 32.43km passing through CRZ areas in Maharashtra, 8.39km would be underground and at some places, the train will pass through an elevated viaduct. This plea, however, stated that only 53,467 mangrove trees spread over an area of 13.36ha would be affected by the corridor.
NHRSCL’s counsel, advocate Pralhad Paranjape, said MCZMA rejected the proposal on the grounds that the HC has prohibited cutting of mangroves. The lawyer said NHSRCL has proposed to plant five times the actual number of mangroves affected by the high-speed rail corridor, against the statutory requirement of thrice the number. Paranjape submitted the authority failed to take into consideration that the corridor is a public interest project.
A division bench of justice Bhushan Gavai and justice NJ Jamadar then asked why the bench should entertain a petition that has been moved before obtaining other requisite permissions.
Paranjape responded saying NHSRCL has submitted an application to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), which is pending consideration. He, however, promised they don’t intend to undertake any work before obtaining all requisite permissions.
Finding that MoEF was a necessary party to the proceedings, the court then directed NHRSCL to add them as party respondent to the petition and issued a notice to the ministry. The petition will come up for hearing after five weeks.
Mandi MP and Himachal Pradesh Congress president Pratibha Singh on Sunday termed the ₹8 and ₹6 cut in excise duty on petrol and diesel inadequate. The Congress president flayed BJP leaders who were advertising the move as a public welfare decision by the Modi government. She also urged the state government to cut state taxes on petrol and diesel.
The India Meteorological Department has forecast light to moderate rainfall and thunderstorms across eleven districts of the state till May 26. “An orange alert has been issued as thunderstorm, lightning, hailstorm and gusty winds are expected to blow at a speed of 60–70km/hour,” said Shimla meteorological department (MeT) centre director Surender Paul. Widespread precipitation can be expected in parts of Chamba, Kangra, Mandi, Kullu, Hamirpur, Una, Bilaspur, Shimla and Kinnaur.
Photocopies of the solved question paper of the leaked Himachal Pradesh Police constable recruitment examination were delivered to candidates residing in Mandi, Kullu, Solan and Bilaspur around three-four days before the screening test. One of the main accused in the paper leak case, Manoj Thakur of Mandi, said the photocopies reached the candidates who had paid for the question paper on March 23 and 24. The mastermind of the paper leak is still at large.
Himachal Pradesh has imported 240 Merino sheep for the genetic improvement of indigenous species under its ₹8.5-crore community-based structured breeding programme, animal husbandry minister Virender Kanwar said on Sunday. A total of 1,482 metric tonnes of wool was produced in the state last year. The state has 7, 91,345 sheep which produce coarse carpet-quality wool. Himachal is the sixth largest producer of wool in the country, contributing 4% of the total production.
A six-year-old boy died after falling into a 100-foot-deep borewell at Khyala Bulanda village here on Sunday. Son of a migrant labourer, Rithik Roshan, fell into the borewell around 9 am and was taken out at 6.30pm. Rithik's death is a is a stark reminder of a similar shocking incident two years ago in Sangrur district where two-year-old Fatehvir Singh had died after he fell into a 150-foot-deep abandoned borewell.