GUWAHATI, Jan 12 - Even as several organisations here are now up in arms against �resumption of construction activities� in the 2000-MW Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project (LSHEP) by the National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and have been resorting to various protest programmes, a directive of the Kolkata-based Eastern Zone (EZ) Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in this connection has become pertinent here.
The NHPC has been allowed to �complete the repairing and maintenance work (of the LSHEP) on emergent basis� by the NGT�s EZ Bench. The EZ Bench directive was issued in connection with the Original Application No. 346/2013/PB/9/EZ, Abhijeet Sarma versus Union of India and Others.
This EZ Bench directive came in the wake of the report of the Advocate Commissioner appointed by the Tribunal. Paragraph 12 of the Advocate Commissioner�s report reads � �(i) Removal of the stone chips required for construction from the bank of the river, as during the monsoon it may impede flow of the river. (ii) As in most of the tunnels where concrete lining are not completed and only shotcreting (mortar or concrete conveyed through a hose and projected pneumatically at high velocity onto a surface) is complete, concrete lining needs to be completed for protection of the tunnel as there remains a possibility that the tunnels may collapse. (iii) That the road network in the project is in a very bad condition and needs to be repaired. (iv) That most of the equipment lying in a desolate state outside under open sky must be properly maintained as during the monsoon or even in summer due to heat they may not function properly.�
The NGT in its order issued on December 11, 2015, said further, �It is made clear that no construction work to the project be done. Besides the aforesaid work, the Respondent No. 3 viz. project proponent (NHPC) is entitled to undertake emergency maintenance work for safety and protection of the public and the property.�
With this directive, the NGT adjourned the matter till February 4, 2016.
Abhijeet Sarma has been represented in the EZ Bench of the NGT in this litigation by Advocate Sanjay Upadhyay. The applicant had filed an application for stay order on the construction work of the LSHEP, which was already stopped by the people of Assam through a protracted agitation.
Anti-mega dam activists here have questioned the legal wisdom to file a stay application on a stalled project, which has ostensibly paved the way for resumption of work on the project.