The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has ordered the constitution of a committee to probe environmental damage, if any, that is likely when the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) widens the 167-km stretch from Edappally to Ramanattukara in Kozhikode on NH 66 to a 45-metre wide stretch.
This followed a petition alleging that the stretch is being widened without carrying out an environmental impact study. The committee to probe whether there is any violation of environment laws by the NHAI must comprise officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and the NHAI. They must do a factual study and submit an action-taken report before January 7, 2021.
The committee must also ascertain whether the environmental compensation must be recovered from the NHAI. The Bengaluru regional office of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change has been designated as the nodal agency to coordinate and provide logistic support to the committee.
The NH Samara Samiti that has been agitating against the second round of eviction on the Edappally-Moothakunnam stretch of the NH said that environmetnal clearance and social impact assessment were mandatory for any NH project over 100 km and 40-metres wide. The NHAI omitted these and is “forcibly” going ahead with land acquisition from the very same people who surrendered land to develop the stretch as a 30-metre-wide NH over two decades ago, said Hashim Chendampilly of the samiti.