Nainital: The Uttarakhand High Court today directed the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to produce within ten days the environment clearances obtained by it for the construction of the ambitious all-weather roads project.
The high court's direction came following an application filed by the ministry for a review of its earlier order of stopping all construction of roads and hydro-power projects without identifying muck disposal sites beyond 500 metres of the rivers in the state.
The ministry contended that the mandatory direction was affecting the progress of the all-weather road projects that was very important and being directly monitored by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
The division bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Lok Pal Singh expressed grave concern over the appalling condition of rural roads in the state. "All roads are important. Even the one on which a pregnant woman had to travel for three days on a 'palki' (palanquin)," Justice Sharma said, referring to a newspaper report in which a pregnant woman in the hills had to undertake the tedious journey to reach a health facility.
Justice Singh showed deep concern on the manner of construction of all-weather roads and observed that he himself had seen the digging and muck disposal on the riverside at the construction sites.
The court asked the ministry to produce within ten days the environment clearances obtained by it to carry out construction of the all-weather roads project.
Earlier, the court had directed the state chief secretary to ensure strict compliance of its order regarding muck disposal and file a compliance affidavit, said Kartikeya Hari Gupta, counsel for the petitioner.
The affidavit of the chief secretary was filed in the court, showing various directions issued to the National Highway Division, public works department of the state, mandating them to check and inspect all the road construction sites in the state and ensure that no muck was disposed within 500 metres of the rivers.
The next hearing on the matter is slated for August 13. PTI