GUWAHATI, Jan 19 - Kolkata-based Eastern Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) today admitted a petition filed by Gauhati High Court advocate Tularam Gogoi challenging the way the Union government has constituted the expert committee to look into the issues concerning the construction of the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project.
After admitting the petition, the NGT served notices on the Government of India and the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and fixed March 7 as the next date for hearing the case.
The Tribunal had earlier admitted a petition filed by Abhijeet Sarma of the Assam Public Works on the same issue, and fixed March 7 for hearing that petition.
Gogoi, also a former vice president of the All Assam Students� Union, argued that the qualification and level of expertise of the members of the expert committee � constituted in accordance with the October 16, 2017 order of the NGT EZ Bench by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) through an order on November 27, 2017 � were not made public. Their present and past affiliations were also not made known, he alleged.
On December 20, 2017, he had served a legal notice on the MoEFCC seeking such information. The MoEFCC, while replying to the legal notice, stated on January 4, 2018 that the expert committee was constituted after taking necessary approval from competent authority and that the two non-official members � Dr Prabhas Pandey and Dr ID Gupta � had given self-certified �No Conflict of Interest� certificates.
The reply from the MoEFCC to the legal notice of Gogoi had failed to address the specific conflict of interest instances pointed out by him and hence he preferred the �execution application� within four days from the reply of the MoEFCC to the legal notice, said Gogoi in his petition.
He prayed for NGT Bench orders directing the MoEFCC to quash its November 27, 2017 order for constitution of the expert committee and instead constitute a new committee with members who do not have personal, institutional any official bias, among others.
Both Sarma and Gogoi had earlier challenged the present approach of the Union government towards construction of the power project in the NGT Bench.