NGT serves notices to Sub-Contractors for throwing debris in Chenab

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Feb 15: In a contempt petition, filed against the executing agencies constructing Jammu-Srinagar National Highway  from Udhampur to Banihal  for violating direction against throwing debris in the river  Chenab as well as Tawi, the National Green Tribunal has  issued notices to all the Sub-Contractors working on Udhampur to Chenani and Nashri to Ramban four-lanning project.
In an interim order, the NGT has directed the State Government to ensure that the notices are served to these eight Sub-Contractors for filing their reply over the dumping of excavated material.
These Sub-Contractors on Udhampur to Chenani stretch, include Sai Construction (from 72 km to 81 km), Rajesh Kumar (81.35 km to 81.85 km), Zafar Iqbal (from 81.87 km to 82.35 km) and Gian Singh (from 83.05 km to 84 km).
Similarly, the Sub-Contractors, working at Nashri to Ramban stretch, include S&D Construction (from 145.92 km to 146.43 km), KRP construction (from 145.22 km to 145.86 km), Khandey Construction (from 131.00km to 132.62 km) and Dhama Build Private Limited (from 135.00 km to 136.20 km).
Interestingly, some of these local Sub-Contractors have allegedly managed the excavation work by pressuring the main executing agency Gammon India Ltd, which was not being allowed to start work by the local musclemen.
Gammon India Ltd , which has been originally allotted four-lanning of the National Highway 1A from Udhampur to Ramban,  has submitted a declaration before the NGT that it was getting constantly pressurized to allot the excavation work to local sub contractors and this was more prominent in Ramban area. Several coordination meetings were conducted at the level of District Commissionaire and finally the Gammon India was forced to award the execution work to local sub-contractors namely M/s KRP Construction and M/s S&D Construction in Ramban area.
Furthermore, as per the Gammon India declaration,  these two contractors are local musclemen and while conducting excavation work, were not following the instructions given to them, for dumping of excavated material and were even resorting to dumping on private lands, which were not sites designated as such by the District Administration.
Pertinent to mention that giving an interim direction, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had already restrained the concerned executing agencies from throwing any debris and muck resulting from the construction of the road from Udhampur to Banihal, in the rivers Chenab and Tawi, directly or indirectly.
The direction was issued by the NGT Principal Bench, New Delhi, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, filed by Amresh Singh, through Advocate Swarn Kishore Singh and others, against rampant dumping of soil directly in these rivers, without prior environment clearance and in violation of the conditions stipulated in the Environment Clearance, thus adversely affecting the ecosystem, overall ecology of the area and integrity of Chenab as well as Tawi rivers. In this regard, the NGT had issued separate notices to the Chief Secretary of J&K Government, the State Ministry of Forests and Ecology, Gammon India Ltd, Hindustan Construction Co Ltd, J&K State Pollution Control Board, District Magistrate and SSP Udhampur, District Magistrate and SSP Ramban.
As the respondents allegedly failed to comply with the NGT direction, a contempt petition was filed. In response to the notice issued by the Tribunal, executing agency Gammon India Ltd submitted that the excavation work has been sub contracted to various agencies and sub-contractors, which were not following the instruction given to them for dumping of excavated material.
Following this reply of Gammon India Ltd, the Tribunal has issued notices to all the sub-contractors and listed the matter for hearing on March 14, 2017.