New Delhi: Uttarakhand High Court on Wednesday halted any kind of muck dumping by the Vishnugad-Pipalkoti Hydroelectric project, built on the Alaknanda River, forthwith, in the vicinity of 8-9th century old Laxmi-Narayan temple, having a cluster of old temples around, in Haat village, in Chamoli district.

While issuing notices to the Ministry of Culture, ASI, MOEFCC, State of Uttarakhand, Pollution Control Board, and Directorate of Culture, Uttarakhand, the Bench of Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Ramesh Chandra Khulbe called responses within four weeks, on the Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by Gram Sabha Haat fixing the matter for December 6.

The court, expressing shock at the photographs of debris dumping, reprimanded the state authorities, observed that acquisition of the land for a particular project didn't mean that they would dump the muck anywhere, damage the heritage and ecology of an area.

Akash Vashishtha, Advocate and Counsel for the petitioner, told the court that a heritage temple over 1000 years old was being converted into a muck dumping site by the THDCIL, in complete disregard to the ASI recommendations.

"The village Haat, in which the cluster of these temples is situated and which is itself 1,000 years old, is witnessing perpetual dumping of construction and demolition wastes. The ASI report recommends that not only the muck dumping should stop and be shifted to another area but the site also needs to be protected," Vashishtha submitted.

Haat Gram Pradhan, Rajendra Hatwal, was present during the hearing along with other villagers. Advocate Anand Singh Mer also appeared, along with Akash Vashishtha in the matter. —IANS



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