Due to the repeated failures in paying penalty for polluting and damaging the environment by throwing construction debris into Chenab and Tawi rivers in Jammu and Kashmir, the NGT has slapped Gammon India and Hindustan Construction Company to Rs 2 crores each.
The green panel, which had slapped the companies previously with Rs 1 crore fine each on February 12th, increased the penalty amount since both the companies did not comply with the restraining orders of not using the rivers as dumping sites.
A petition filed by Ramban resident Amaresh Singh had sought the tribunal’s direction to stop the dumping of debris generated during the construction of a stretch of Jammu-Srinagar national highway between Udhampur and Banihal into the water bodies.
The plea clearly stated that the work on four laning of the stretch was being executed in a “reckless manner” and any loose soil was being dumped directly into these two rivers. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said on Friday that both the companies need to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs two crores within the next two weeks time. The amount needs to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board which may be spent for restoration of the environment.
Also, NGT has ordered the National Highway Authority of India to pay a penalty of Rs 1 crore within the next two weeks. In case of failure in payment, NGT made is very clear that the last option would be direct civil imprisonment of the directors of the said companies.
The tribunal asked the firms to file an undertaking that it will comply with its order. The companies had moved the Supreme Court, challenging NGT’s February order. The apex court had dismissed their appeal.