NEW DELHI Noting repeated failures, the NGT has raised the penalty slapped on Gammon India and Hindustan Construction Company to Rs 2 crore each for damaging the environment by dumping construction debris into Chenab and Tawi rivers in Jammu and Kashmir.
The green panel, which had slapped an environment compensation of Rs 1 crore each on the companies on February 12, increased the amount after finding its previous order restraining the firms from using the rivers as dumping sites was not complied with.
A petition filed by Ramban resident Amaresh Singh had sought the tribunal’s direction to stop 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 had said the work on four-laning of the stretch was being executed in “a reckless manner” and loose soil was being dumped directly into the two rivers.
On Friday, a bench headed by National Green Tribunal Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also ordered the companies to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs two crore within two weeks.
“Gammon India Ltd as well as Hindustan Construction Company Ltd are now required to pay a sum of Rs 2 crore each within a month… The amount be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board which may be spent for restoration of the environment.
“In view of repeated failures and the track record of deficiencies in maintaining environment norms, we require Gammon India as well as Hindustan Construction Company Ltd to furnish further performance guarantee in the sum of Rs 2 crore each to the satisfaction of the CPCB,” the NGT said.
It also ordered the National Highway Authority of India to furnish a performance guarantee of Rs 1 crore within two weeks.
“It is made clear that the amount of performance guarantees will be liable to be forfeited if there is any further default in maintaining the environmental norms henceforth,” NGT said.
It warned the firms that in case of failure “we may have no other option but to 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.