LUCKNOW - The Allahabad High Court Friday directed the Uttar Pradesh government to put the ambitious Ganga Expressway project on hold till it obtains fresh environmental clearance.
The court order came after hearing petitions filed by the Vindh Environmental Society (VEM), Mirzapur and the Hindu Mahasabha, questioning the environmental feasibility of the project.
“The High court quashed the earlier environmental clearance of the project and directed the state government to get the same following necessary provisions laid under section (3) of the Environmental Protection Act,” VEM counsel Rahul Mishra told IANS on the telephone.
Mishra said they had contended that the state government bypassed norms and other rules to get the environmental clearance from the UP State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority, which was constituted following a notification issued by the central government Sept 14, 2006 and entrusted with the task of environment assessment.
The Mayawati cabinet January 2008 had approved the Rs.40,000-crore (Rs.400 billion), 1,047-km long Ganga Expressway, which would link Noida to Ballia, passing through 19 districts along the banks of the river.
Expressing concern over the environmental feasibility of the expressway, Hindu Mahasabha counsel Arun Kumar Gupta said: “The industrial units that are proposed to come up parallel to the expressway would pose a danger for the river as there will be a continuous threat of effluents being released into the river.”
The VEM’s suit was filed April 2008 and the Hindu Mahasbha’s in March 2008.