New Delhi, July 9: The National Green Tribunal has said that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways cannot proceed with new road projects in tiger corridors in Maharashtra without complying with the action plan prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said compliance with the plan prepared by NTCA is necessary for precautions in view of potential of affecting the wildlife, news agency PTI reported.
The tribunal had taken cognisance of a news report which claimed obstruction to tiger corridors by new road projects in Maharashtra.
The news report said necessary steps and precautions in such road projects for protection of the environment and wildlife were lacking.
On the issue of project expenditure, the tribunal said it is not for the NGT to comment on the source of funding and this has to be worked out between the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Maharashtra government.
The Ministry had expressed its inability to fund any additional expenditure over and above Rs 100.81 crore for the proposed mitigation structures, agreed earlier, and requested the Maharashtra government and the Chief Wildlife Warden for funding the expenditure towards mitigation measures proposed for the two roads viz. Mul-Chandrapur and Bamni-Navegaon.
Perusing modified action plan has filed on behalf of the Additional Director General of Forest (Project Tiger) NTCA, the NGT noted that the ministry has again not agreed in respect of two roads.
It said, “As already held by this Tribunal, the ministry cannot proceed with the project without complying with the action plan prepared by the NTCA which is necessary for precautions in view of potential of affecting the wildlife.”
The NGT said that “We also note that the MoRTH (Minsitry of Road Transport and Highways) has stated that the Ministry cannot fund any additional expenditure for the mitigation measures.
“We are unable to accept such a plea for the reasons already mentioned. If the project proponent wishes to proceed with a project, he cannot do so without taking measures for safety precautions for protection of wildlife,” the bench said.
The tribunal made it clear that the project proponent may proceed only subject to the action plan prepared by the NTCA.
The action plan prepared by NTCA recommended a slew of measures including construction of flyovers for vehicular traffic, sound barriers, overhead signboards, overhead signboards among others.