New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Centre and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to respond within two weeks to a show cause notice asking why action should not be initiated against them for not maintaining the mandatory green cover along national and state highways.
A bench headed by acting NGT chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim warned the parties in the case that in the event of failure to file replies, a fine of Rs 50,000 each would be imposed on them.
"Two weeks’ time is granted to all the respondents as a last chance failing which, they will be saddled with costs of Rs 50,000 each," the bench said.
The green panel granted time to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and the Environment Ministry of Haryana and Rajasthan after they sought an extension on the deadline.
During the hearing advocate Anil Sood, appearing for the petitioner NGO Society for Protection of Culture, Heritage, Environment, Traditions and Promotion of National Awareness, told the tribunal that despite the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) sending a notice to NHAI for non-compliance of the NGT order, no action has been taken by the highways authority.
The matter is posted for next hearing on 17 July, 2018.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by the NGO seeking execution of the 5 September, 2017 order of the NGT where the NHAI had assured the tribunal that it would follow the Green Highways (Plantation, Transplantation, Beautification and Maintenance) Policy, 2015 in true spirit and substance.
The plea had said that the tribunal had directed the Delhi, Haryana, and Rajasthan governments to ensure plantation on government land which is adjacent to the national highway and state highways, but it has not been complied with.
In a detailed order, the NGT had directed the state governments and all local authorities to encourage plantation in public parks and other places wherever it is possible to plant additional trees to ensure the health of the environment and provide greater protection to the ambient air quality.
"The state governments and all local authorities shall also issue directions to all group housing societies, commercial plots and land that is allotted by the state government for any office, residential block, that they would plant trees along their boundaries and raise green belts around buildings," the tribunal had said.
The Indian road network of 33 lakh kilometres is the second largest in the world and stretches to about 96,000 kilometres of national highways, which constitute only 1.7 percent of the road network but carry about 40 percent of the total road traffic.
Updated Date: Jun 01, 2018 21:25 PM