• Delhi-Meerut Expressway may be allowed: Expert panel tells NGT

    The permission to NHAI to build a bridge and its approach roads across the river for the Delhi- Meerut Expressway should be allowed to help ease traffic congestion, an expert committee today told the National Green Tribunal.

    The Principal Committee, headed by Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, told a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar that the “project may be allowed” subject to fulfilling of certain conditions including increasing the cost of monitoring during construction phase of bridge by nearly Rs 2.5 crore.

    The committee, constituted by the NGT for implementation of ‘Maili se Nirmal Yamuna Revitalisation Project 2017’, has recommended that project proponent should save “as many trees” as possible and no wetland area on the floodplains should be disturbed during the construction phase.

    The Principal Committee also comprises Special Secretary of MoEF, Joint Secretary of Ministry of Water Resources, Delhi Chief Secretary, DDA, Delhi Jal Board, municipal corporations, Commissioner and others.

    Professors C R Babu, A K Gosain, Brij Gopal and A A Kazmi of IIT Roorkee are also members of the Principal Committee, which also said that strong iron marshes of 8 inch height should be erected along the proposed bridge to stop the public from throwing solid waste in the Yamuna.

    The matter is listed for next hearing on November 22.

    The submissions came in response to National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) plea seeking NGT’s nod for building of bridges and approach roads over Yamuna.

    In its plea, NHAI had said that currently the route between Delhi and Meerut (NH-58) had frequent jams causing lot of inconvenience to traffic between the two cities and the project will reduce the time of travel to 40-45 minutes from three hours at present.

    NHAI had moved NGT in view of a 2015 order saying that construction of “new barrages and roads, railway and metro bridges and embankments and bunds” should not be permitted.

    However, in exceptional cases, “a critical impact of their potential impact on flood aggravation and environmental clearances should be made mandatory,” it had said.

    The Delhi-Meerut Expressway will be built through public -private-partnership mode and slated to be operational by March 2018. The project starts from National Highway-2 at Ring Road in Delhi and ends at Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. Darren Woodson Authentic Jersey

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