New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a stay order on the construction of an all-weather double-lane road project in the upper reaches of Uttarakhand.
The project, reportedly worth Rs 12,000 crore, seeks to improve connectivity to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath by constructing a double-lane highway capable of allowing traffic movement in every season. An objection was, however, raised about the environmental implications and the matter reached the apex court which issued a stay on an earlier NGT order which had shown the green signal.
It is reported that 25,000 trees have been cut in the state for the road project and that a total of more than 60,000 trees need to be felled. In addition, there are allegations that there has been no proper plan for the disposal of construction waste and that these have been dumped in the Ganga and its tributaries. There are also charges that an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) was not done before starting the project and that required permits were not sought from forest and wildlife division - necessary because the proposed road passes through national parks.
The Supreme Court has now directed the state and the central government to submit their replies by November 15 which is also the next date of hearing in the case.
Rampant construction in the hill state of Uttarakhand has time and again made headlines for the wrong reason. Environmentalists continue to warn of deadly consequences - like the floods here in 2013 - if urbanisation is not regulated and strictly checked. Illegal construction, road expansion and encroaching forest land has begun taking a toll on the flora and fauna in the serene state.