Work On Ganga Expressway Project Continues Despite High Court Ban
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The hasty manner, in which the Uttar Pradesh government had granted environmental clearance to the Ganga Express Way Project, prompted the High Court to quash the environment clearance granted to the project thereby imposing a ban on its implementation on 29th May, 2009, till further notice.
Serious aspersions are been cast against the haphazard working of the government, on this important issue. Neither the project report nor the `environment impact assessment' report was made available during the August 2007 public hearings. On top of this, the `state environment impact assessment authority' and the state level appraisal committee took just one day to take the major decision of granting permission to the project.
A press conference was addressed on 12 June 2009 by noted water rights activists Rajendra Singh (Magsaysay Awardee 2001) and Dr Sandeep Pandey (Magsaysay awardee 2002 and National Convener of National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)).
Leading frontline veteran activist of Narmada Bachao Andolan Arundhati Dhuru was also present adding value to the dialogue on this issue.
Professor U.K.Choudhury of the department of Civil Engineering of B.H.U. has expressed the fear that on its completion, the project is likely to increase the possibility of floods, rather than control them. Apart from this, the emissions from the vehicles plying on the expressway would add to the pollution of the Ganges river (the amount of oxygen dissolved in its waters would decrease and the bio oxygen demand would increase). The ground water level will also be affected.
The acquisition of 27,000 hectares of land, required for the project, will affect the agriculture of the region and impact the livelihood of the farmers. It will also create serious displacement problems for them.
During his tour of Rae Bareli and Pratapgarh districts, Rajendra Singh, the famous `water man', found that the process of land acquisition continues unabated, despite the ban by the High Court.
We demand an immediate stop to all the work related to this project, till the U.P. State Government obtains proper environmental clearances from different agencies and also the clearance from the Central Government.
(The author is the Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS) and also teaches Physics at India's prestigious Loreto Convent. Email: email@example.com, website: www.citizen-news.org)
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