SPCB probe exposes railway contractors' fault in Haridaspur-Paradip rail line work
Bhubaneswar: A joint inspection by a team of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Kendrapara Collector, scientists and other experts has revealed that the railway contractors working on a project in the district have violated environmental norms.
The inspection was undertaken as per the direction of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to verify the environmental damage caused during the construction of railway line between Paradip and Haridaspur, as claimed by the petitioner. The application had alleged that many contractors engaged in the projects had lifted soil from private lands without adequate approvals. The affidavit filed by the SPCB before the NGT claims that no environmental clearance was granted to the contractors from the authorities concerned and the soil was also lifted without adequate permissions from the concerned tehsildars.
The SPCB affidavit reads, 'No environmental clearance and consent to operate has been obtained from the competent authority for lifting of soil. However, no environmental damage has occurred except in one place in Derabish tehsil where six ponds have been created.,'
The special committee claimed that the erring agencies have been penalized for their action and the tehsildars have collected penalty and royalty. It also said that special meetings between the tehsildars and other officials have been conducted in this regard.
The special committee formed as per the NGT directions after their inspection and verification of the claims of the petitioner has also recommended further actions. The team has recommended the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) to obtain statutory clearance as required for the project for extraction of soil for the completion of the project.
Other recommendations include imposition of penalty for excavation on concerned contractors of soil. It also asked the NGT to direct an independent expert committee to assess the cost of destruction to environment, if any.
A petition earlier had sought urgent action with respect to illegal and unlawful extraction of soil from revenue and forest lands and use of soil in construction of earth bed of the railway line that runs from 42 km to 81 km of Haridaspur-Paradip Broad Gauge Rail Line. It was alleged that lands adjoining the railway line under Derabish, Marshaghai, Kendrapara and Mahakalapada tehasils of Kendrapara district were affected by this.