High court prohibits cutting of trees for making roads, seeks response from Chief Engineer

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Nainital High Court

Abstract
Answers sought from Chief Engineer of Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana

Nainital High Court in Chamoli district under Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana has banned cutting of trees after hearing the PIL filed in the case of water source and trees being cut for construction of roads in Sarkot. Also, the Chief Engineer of Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana has been instructed to file the reply by June 4 in the case.

The case was heard by video conferencing before the bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice RC Khulbe. According to the case, Vinod Kumar Kuniyal, a resident of village Sarkot, had filed a PIL in the High Court, saying that under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana, a proposal to connect some villages in the district Chamoli by motorway was passed, but to construct the road, the Chief Engineer changing the alignment of the road, and cutting of trees for the same purpose is threatening the water sources.

The petitioner said that the alignment of the road should be changed to make it from elsewhere so that it does not have an adverse effect on the water resources. After hearing both the sides, the High Court bench has asked the Chief Engineer of Road Planning to file a reply by June 4, prohibiting the felling of trees.

Instructions for filing an objection in case of digging from machines in Saryu
The High Court has directed the petitioner to file an objection within three days after hearing public interest litigation filed in the matter of banning heavy machines used in mining work in Saryu River Bageshwar. In this case, a request was given to the machine operator to file an application and allow the excavation with the machines.

It was said in the application that manual mining is causing difficulties. Therefore the machine should be allowed to dig. The case was heard before the bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice RC Khulbe. According to the case, Pramod Kumar Mehta, a resident of Bageshwar, had filed a PIL in the High Court, stating that on March 9, a tender was published on behalf of Bageshwar, the sub-inspector in Bageshwar Nagar area. In this, local individuals/institutions were invited for the open auction process to lift the disposal of sand sub-river in the Saryu river.

This was challenged by the petitioner on the ground that under the garb of an open auction, the administration is trying to eliminate the nature of the holy river by allowing the use of large machines such as JCB and Pokeland while benefiting the mafia. The petitioner said that the last date for submission of applications for the tender had been fixed by 19 March and the open auction was to be held on 20 March. The administration held an open auction on 20 March. On March 13, a joint representation was given to the District Magistrate Bageshwar in this regard by the local people to cancel the auction, but no action was taken.

The petitioner also said that there should be an execution of gravel sand by Manual digging in the Saryu river from Kathayatbada, Senj, Dwali, Chaurasi, Bhitalgaon, Manikhet, and Aare region. By doing this, the local people will not only get employment but the river will also be safe in its natural form. The river will be greatly damaged by the administration’s inviting of large mineral mafias. Mining by machines will threaten many bridges and water pumps. The petition said that auction is being conducted against the rule without estimation of the quantity of sand gravel in the Saryu river which is contrary to the provisions of Uttarakhand River Training Policy 2020.

High court relaxes submission of hard copy registry by June 15

Uttarakhand High Court has relaxed till June 15 to submit the hard copy to the registry after the online filing of the required promises on the inclusion of the state government’s Nainital district in the Red Zone due to rising Coronavirus cases. High Court Registrar General Heera Singh Bonal said in a notification issued on Monday that after keeping Nainital in the Red Zone, according to the guidelines issued by the government, advocates and litigants may have trouble submitting hard copies to the registry.

The High Court Bar Association had also given a memorandum to the Chief Justice regarding the inconvenience of submitting hard copies in the past. After which the advocates and litigants have been given two weeks’ time to submit hard copies on the instructions of the Chief Justice.

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