The National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttarakhand government to check illegal constructions in Haridwar Forest Division and formed an oversight committee for the same, after a plea alleged rampant violations of forest laws.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel formed the oversight committee comprising Justice U C Dhyani, principal chief conservator of forest, Dehradun, Manoj Chandran, IFS, CCF land survey directorate, Dehradun and the district magistrate of Haridwar.
"In view of the alleged magnitude of illegal constructions adversely affecting the environment, the matter needs consideration and action by the forest department and the district administration. We also consider it necessary to constitute an oversight committee to ensure execution of this order," the bench said.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by environment activist Gauri Maulekhi against illegal constructions in Haridwar forest division in Shyampur range.
According to the applicant, Chandi Block in Shyampur Range, Shivalik Elephant Reserve, and its adjoining Rajaji National Park and Tiger Reserve are wildlife habitats within 100 metre of river Ganga where large scale construction is going on without any clearance from the competent authorities under Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
Construction was taken up at Dakshinkali Temple, Maa Chandi Devi Purohit Residential Area, Chandikeshwar Mahadev Avam VedKarmk and Vidyalaya, Gauri Shankar Temple Parking Area, among other places, the plea filed by advocates Rahul Choudhary and Meera Gopal said.
The committee will take stock of all actions taken so far and prepare time-bound action plan to deal with the problem and ensure its implementation, the tribunal said.
"The committee may requisition services of such technical experts as may be necessary and may also carry out visits to sites whenever necessary. They will be entitled to all logistic support for performing these functions which shall be provided under the directions of the chief secretary, Uttarakhand.
"The committee may also set up website for receiving and giving information on subject. The panel may also involve educational institutions for awareness and feedback," the bench said.
The tribunal directed all the authorities concerned in Uttarakhand to cooperate and coordinate with the committee and said the panel can seek technical assistance as may be required from any relevant authority.
"The chief secretary of Uttarakhand will provide all facilities to said committee to perform its functions. The committee may send its periodical reports to the tribunal by e-mail.
"The committee may assume charge within two weeks. The committee may prepare action plan which shall have targets for ensuring compliance. It may meet at such intervals as considered appropriate, but twice in every month it shall fix targets for compliance.
"The chief secretary of Uttarakhand may determine remuneration of the chairman in consultation with him and also provide all logistic support including security needed for their proper functioning," the bench said while posting the matter to February 13, 2019 for perusing the report of the committee.
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