New Delhi, October 28
The Supreme Court on Friday cleared a major hurdle in the way of widening the Jalandhar-Moga-Barnala highway (NH71A) to make it a four-lane road by staying an order of the National Green Tribunal.
NGT had passed an order on May 19 this year, restraining the Punjab Government from cutting any tree without the tribunal’s approval.
Appearing for the state government, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi pleaded that there was no legal provision for getting NGT approval for cutting trees. Under the law, projects involving environmental aspects would require the approval of only the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, he pleaded.
The NGT order had come on a PIL by Amandeep Aggarwal and others. Rohatgi pleaded that the contractor doing the widening work on the highway would seek compensation from the government for the delays arising from the tribunal order.
A 3-member Bench headed by Chief Justice said the work on the highway could commence subject to approval by necessary authorities and stayed the NGT order for this limited purpose.
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