On Thursday the Chardham highway project in Uttarakhand, came under the inspection of the National Green Tribunal that sought responses from the state and centre government on the debris being dumped on mountain slopes.
The project is based on providing all-weather connectivity to four pilgrimage towns, Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri in Uttarakhand.
A plea filed by Birendra Singh Matura and others alleging that the road widening work was being carried in violation of the Bhagirathi Eco Sensitive Zone Notification.
The tribunal acted after the plea was filed. It also claimed that there was a continuous blasting of mountains and dumping of debris in the river Ganga in the stretch of NH-34 between Gangotri and Bhaironghati.
"It is submitted that huges stones/boulders are thrown on the slopes next to the road which eventually destroy the shrubs/vegetation and also alter/affect the flow of the river when they slide down during monsoon," the plea, filed through advocate Aaagney Sail,said.
The plea demanded to remove the debris thrown on the slopes next to the road in the stretch of NH-34 between Bhatwadi and Gangnani in Uttarkashi district.
The region was highly unstable with numerous active landslides and any further unmanaged construction would weaken the slopes to such an extent that the smallest of rain would convert them into massive active landslides.
The bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Ministry of Road Transport, National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL), Border Roads Organisation (BRO) and Uttarakhand government while seeking their replies by May 31.
Prime Minister had laid the foundation in December 2016, for 900-km-long Chardham highway development project to be built with an investment of Rs 12,000 crore in Uttarakhand.