The Supreme Court today reconstituted the committee formed by the National Green Tribunal to oversee environmental impact mitigation measures for the Delhi-Dehradun Expressway project.
The Court directed that the committee would be chaired by C. P. Goyal, Director General Forests, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Court also directed that Dr. Anil Prakash Joshi, Founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization and Vijay Dhamsana be added as a member of the committee.
Thus, the Court replaced the Chief Secretary of Uttarkhand as the Chairperson of the Committee.
Attorney General KK Venugopal who appeared for the Center and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the National Highway Authority of India agreed with the Bench that independent members should be added to the Committee.
The Bench of the Apex Court comprising of Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justice Aniruddha Bose also directed that committee thus formed would also look into the suggestions given by the appellant Citizen for Green Doon i.e. regarding the height of the underpass/tunnel, Compensatory Afforestation and the Mitigation Measures which are to be adopted.
Citizen for Green Doon, an NGO, had filed the petition before the Supreme Court raising the issue of felling of forest trees for the purpose of widening of a part of the Delhi - Dehradoon NH-72A Highway. The NGO had challenged the judgment and order of the National Green Tribunal.
The National Green Tribunal had heard a challenge raised against the validity of the forest clearances granted for the widening project and the tribunal had upheld the decision of the authorities. The NGO had also raised a question about the members of the committee stating that the committee which was appointed to oversee mitigation measures lacked independent experts.
The Supreme Court had asked the parties to suggest names of independent experts for consideration to be added to the party.