• Green cover plea along highways: NGT seeks reply of Centre

    The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought the response of the Centre, NHAI and others on a petition seeking a direction for maintenance of mandatory 30 metres green cover on both sides of the national highways.

    The green panel also issued notices to the governments of Delhi and Haryana on the plea which claimed that there was an erosion of the mandatory green cover on both sides of NH-1 and NH-8 which was necessary to maintain the ecological balance between pollution and development.

    A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar asked the respondents to file their reply and fixed the matter for hearing on September 7.

    The plea, filed by an NGO, said an effort should be made by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the state governments, through which national highways pass, to preserve and maintain the surrounding areas.

    “As per norms adopted by the NHAI, mandatory green of 30 metres on each side of the highway/scheduled road and 50 metres on both sides of any bypass is to be maintained,” it said.

    It claimed that effective green cover along the national highways have manifold uses and NHAI itself has prescribed the mandatory green cover.

    “This is a huge loss to the green cover of the country, which is struggling with acute shortage of water and is faced with humungous air and noise pollution,” it said.

    The petition also referred to the notifications issued by the Haryana government which said that no construction can be allowed within 30 metres on either side of national highways and 50 metres on both sides in case of bypass road and it has to be maintained as green area.

    “The basic concept is that trees should be planted along the highway to maintain ecological balance between pollution and development and the future need for expansion of roads and insulate the population living nearby from noise pollution, dust and emission pollution,” it said.

    It sought a direction to authorities concerned for declogging of traffic on national highways. Mark Walton Jersey

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