NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday sought the Centre‘s detailed response on the appointment of an environmental regulator committee in connection with the petition challenging the construction of bridge projects in West Bengal.
In accordance with a petition challenging the construction of bridge projects in West Bengal to protect the trees at the construction site, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and comprising Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, sought the Centre’s response after hearing the petition filed by the Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR).
The ADPR had moved the Supreme Court seeking appropriate directions or orders in relation to the construction of bridge projects in West Bengal and the protection of trees.
The top court said, “The Centre has to file a reply on the appointment of the environmental regulator,” and adjourned the matter.
The apex court, during the course of the hearing, suggested that Ranjeet Singh, who drafted the wildlife protection Act may be included in the committee.
Bobde observed that somebody has to access the heritage (trees) and once you decide to build a road, you (Governments) must tell us and the committee may say, which trees are never to be cut down and which trees may be cut down, and how they are to be valued if they are to be cut down.
The Bobde further said the Committee will lay down a protocol if the tree has to be felled or cut down at the construction site, what will be the value of those trees, and how can trees be taken care of.
The apex court also issued a notice to the Centre on a fresh plea of the lawyer, Prashant Bhushan seeking setting aside of the notification that would be of no need for the environmental clearance for the road project of the length of 100 kilometers there.
It also asked all the parties to exchange names among themselves for setting up the committee on the valuation of trees and setting up of an SOP for such construction in the future, and ensuring the fact that trees have to be taken care of and protected.