Kullu, June 3
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is yet to deposit a fine of Rs 1.15 crore imposed by the Forest Department in 2020 and 2021 for illegally dumping debris along the Beas during the construction of the 40-km two-lane highway between Ramshila (Kullu) and Manali and the 10-km four-lane highway between Jia (Bhuntar) and Ramshila.
Angel Chauhan, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Kullu, says that the Forest Department has formed a five-member committee along with the Revenue Department for another inspection. The committee comprising a kanungo, patwari, Forest Range Officer, Block Officer and a forest guard has been asked to submit its report within 15 days.
The DFO says that the department had imposed the Rs 1.15 crore fine as per the calculation of the area where debris was dumped illegally. However, the NHAI approached the department and asked it to suggest measures to revamp and conserve the areas where the debris was dumped. He adds that to prevent landslides and subsidence at illegal dumping sites, the department had sent a notice to the NHAI in November last year for planting saplings using the jute matting technology to save about 5 hectares. He adds that the NHAI did not carry out even the suggested remedy.
The construction of the Ramshila-Manali road was completed one and a half years ago, while 98 per cent of the work on the Jia-Ramshila road had been accomplished.
Chauhan says that dumping sites provided to the NHAI were found largely vacant during inspection, thus meaning that debris was illegally dumped elsewhere. He adds that during inspection, it was found that the NHAI contractors had illegally dumped debris at many places along the Beas, ruining the ecology of the region.
Abhishek Rai, an environmentalist, alleges that the NHAI contractors gave the norms a go-by and illegally dumped muck at various places, causing irreparable damage to the environment. Haphazard debris dumping by the companies undertaking construction caused severe damage to forestland and also polluted the Beas. He adds that strict action should be taken against the construction companies for violation of norms. Vigil should be maintained in areas where construction work was underway.
#NHAI #pay #penalty #Forest #Dept
syndicated from Himachal Pradesh Tourism