NGT stays tree felling for widening of NH-87

June 02, 2016 12:00 am | Updated September 16, 2016 09:52 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The National Green Tribunal has chided the Environment Ministry and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for cutting trees for widening of Rampur—Rudrapur—Kathgodam section of NH—87, which connects Uttar Pradesh with Uttarakhand, and restrained them from chopping any tree further.

“There shall be no tree felling on the stretch of NH—87 indicated in the application without following due process of law,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.

The direction came while hearing a plea by NGO Friends which had alleged that large scale cutting of trees has been carried out by NHAI for widening of NH—87.

“Massive felling of trees for widening of NH—87 is a matter of serious concern especially because of the fact that recent unprecedented incidents of forest fire in Uttarakhand have already ruined more than 2600 hectares of forest area and have devastated the ecosystem of the state and made grave impact on the environment.

“In view of the recent forest fire in Uttarakhand, now cutting many thousands of fully grown trees for the said project of four laning of Rampur—Rudrapur—Kathgodam stretch of NH—87 would further make serious impact on the environment,” the plea said.

The NGO said that around 55 hectares of forest area has been diverted in Uttar Pradesh while around 60 hectares of the forest area in Uttarakhand has also been diverted which provides crucial corridors to animals.

“The diversion of around 60 hectares of forest located within the Gola corridor in Uttarakhand has been approved for the said project for widening of National Highway (NH—87) from Rampur to Kathgodam.

“According to environmentalists the Gola corridor is the only feasible path for the movement of elephants across the Gola River but it is being diverted for widening of the NH—87 connecting Rampur to Kathgodam,” the plea, filed through Sugriva Dubey, said. — PTI

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