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High Court closes PIL on Bonar nallah

‘No breach of environmental safeguards’
03:20 AM Apr 20, 2024 IST | D A RASHID
high court closes pil on bonar nallah
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Srinagar, Apr 19: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has closed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that was seeking to save Bonar nallah from pollution in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.

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A division bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi closed the PIL while concluding that there was no breach of environmental safeguards.

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“In the absence of any specific denial or material indicating a breach of environmental safeguards, we do not deem it necessary to continue with this PIL and accordingly, the same is closed,” the bench said.

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Filed in the court in 2020, the PIL was seeking the court’s intervention to prevent Bonar Nallah at Chandagee from pollution as construction material and other refuse were being dumped on its embankments.

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It also sought to suitably compensate the residents of the area whose residential houses got damaged due to blasting while constructing the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project (KGHP).

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Besides other directions concerning the environment, the PIL was seeking to engage the uneducated youth of the project-affected area as they had been rendered without any source of livelihood.

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The court underscored that the respondents specifically the Chairman and Managing Director, NHPC, and its General Manager who had been assigned the task of construction of KGHP, have in an affidavit asserted that the project had been executed with utmost adherence to environmental safeguards and without causing any detrimental impact.

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The court said that the affidavit filed on April 14, 2022, indicated the comprehensive measures taken by the executing agency to ensure the safety of the surrounding environment.

Besides, it highlighted that on August 29, 2018, M/s HCC deposited Rs 34,29,900 as compensation for the damages caused to the structures in the villages of Mantrigram.

Moreover, the court said the authorities further reported to it that the environmental laws had been strictly adhered to as the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Committee on the environmental aspect of the Kishanganga Hydroelectric Project had visited the project sites several times and affirmed that the environmental laws were being complied with.

“Under the circumstances and in the absence of any specific denial or material indicating a breach of environmental safeguards, we do not deem it necessary to continue with this PIL and accordingly, the same is closed,” the court said.

However, the court made it clear that the J&K Pollution Control Board will undertake necessary steps by the law to ensure that no environmental damage has occurred.

“If any damage has occurred, the relevant authorities will take appropriate steps or actions as required by law,” the court said.

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