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Haryana government has been penalised by the National Green Tribunal for not filing its reply on a plea opposing the diversion of a 12-km stretch of Gurgaon-Manesar Expressway from Sohna Road via Tikli, Shaktpur and Shikohpur to the Aravalli forests.
The green panel has slapped a fine of Rs 30,000 on Haryana government for its lapse. The amount is to be deposited with the Legal Aid Committee of the NGT.
A bench, headed by acting chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim, noted that the state government and its forest department failed to file their replies despite directives issued by the tribunal on January 30.
The order came after advocate Ayush Arora, appearing for the petitioner — Haryana resident Harinder Dhingra — said that the state authorities had failed to file their response despite clear directions of the NGT.
The tribunal had earlier issued notices to the Haryana government, National Highways Authority of India, the forest department and the State Pollution Control Board on the plea.
The petitioner had opposed the construction of a new route for Gurgaon-Manesar Express Highway in the forest area of the Aravalli Range, as it violated the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
"These lands are protected either under the Aravalli notification dated May 7, 1992, or the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, or by orders of the Supreme Court and the NGT," Dhingra’s plea said.
It further said that the area in question forms part of the Aravalli hill range, which is an important biodiversity hotspot, as it supports large number of wildlife.
Thus, shifting of the expressway to the present route from its earlier proposed route would lead to environmental degradation in the region and enhance the level of pollution in the environment.
"The destruction of Aravalli will also lead to straying of leopards outside their habitat into the open space and will result into clash between human and animals," the plea stated.TAGS: National Green Tribunal / Gurgaon-Manesar Expressway / Sohna Road / Tikli / Shaktpur / Shikohpur Aravalli forests / NGT / Petition / Wildlife / Haryana government
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