Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding violations of environmental norms in the upgradation of NH-200, 12/10/2022

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Pratap Chandra Mohanty & Others dated 12/10/2022.

The applicants have said that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), engaged in the rehabilitation and upgradation of existing 2-lane to 4-lane standards from Duburi to Chandikhole section of NH-200 from 388.376 kilometers to 428.074 kilometers, length of 40 kilometers in the state of Odisha under the NHDP Phase-III on EPC Mode (Pkg-III) and the construction period of the said project is 910 days.

It is alleged that while executing the construction of the highway project, the private contractors require huge amounts of minor minerals such as soil, morrum, road metals, stone, bajri, sand and stone crusher dust. The minor minerals  are not available in the open market and the trading of such minor minerals are regulated by the state government under the Orissa Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 2016. Permission for quarrying and transit permit for transportation of these minor minerals are required and it is alleged that these minor minerals are being transported by the end user agency without any valid transit permit.

Reference has also been made to the RTI reply provided by the officer of the Tahasildar Danagadi - which clearly mentions that no quarry has been issued in favour of M/s Gammon Engineers & Contractors Pvt. Ltd with M/s Gammon Infra Project (JV), contractor of NHAI, or its authorized representative or sub-contractor by the tahasil office of Danagadi. It is also stated that no sand sairat/morrum sairat/stone sairat has been allotted in favour of the NHAI or the private contractors.

The NGT said that the matter required consideration and directed notice to be issued to the respondents - Government of Odisha; Odisha State Pollution Control Board; State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) Odisha; Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Integrated Regional Office, Bhubaneswar; National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). All the respondents have been directed to file their counter affidavits within three weeks.