NGT may soon give green signal to National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on the recommendation by as expert, to build a bridge and its approach roads across the river for the Delhi- Meerut Expressway, long pending demand to ease traffic congestion.
An expert committee on Tuesday briefed National Green Tribunal on the project. The Principal Committee, headed by Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that the 'project may be allowed' subject to fulfilling of certain conditions including increasing the cost of monitoring during construction phase of bridge by nearly Rs 2.5 crore. The committee, constituted by the NGT for implementation of 'Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017', has recommended that project proponent should save "as many trees" as possible and no wetland area on the flood plains should be disturbed during the construction phase.
The Principal Committee also comprises Special Secretaryof MoEF, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, Delhi Chief Secretary, DDA, Delhi Jal Board, municipal corporations,Commissioner and others. Professors C R Babu, A K Gosain, Brij Gopal and A A Kazmiof IIT Roorkee are also members of the Principal Committee, which also said that strong iron marshes of 8 inch height should be erected along the proposed bridge to stop the public from throwing solid waste in the Yamuna.
The matter is listed for next hearing on November 22. The submissions came in response to National Highways Authority of India's (NHAI) plea seeking NGT's nod for building of bridges and approach roads over Yamuna. In its plea, NHAI had said that currently the route between Delhi and Meerut (NH-58) had frequent jams causing lotof inconvenience to traffic between the two cities and theproject will reduce the time of travel to 40-45 minutes fromthree hours at present.
NHAI had moved NGT in view of a 2015 order saying thatconstruction of "new barrages and roads, railway and metrobridges and embankments and bunds" should not be permitted. However, in exceptional cases, "a critical impact oftheir potential impact on flood aggravation and environmentalclearances should be made mandatory," it had said. The Delhi-Meerut Expressway will be built through public-private-partnership mode and slated to be operational byMarch 2018. The project starts from National Highway-2 at RingRoad in Delhi and ends at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.