SC stays NGT order mandating green clearance for Metro, rail projects

New Delhi, Sep 16 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order mandating environmental clearance for all Metro and other rail projects prior to their launch.

A bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar stayed the May 31 order of the NGT after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that it was coming in the way of various projects, including Metro, and the East-West and North-South dedicated freight corridors.

The apex court order came on a petition by the Dedicated Freight Corridors Corporation of India (DFCCI).

Addressing the bench, Attorney General Rohatgi said: “The Metro’s city projects are spreading to over a dozen cities. Places are being dug up for expansion. We are trying to remedy pollution by inviting people to travel in metro. Our main purpose is development and sustainable development.”

He said that seeking environment clearances for metro rail projects was ridiculous as metro operations help in reducing pollution.

Saying that the metro projects do not require prior environment clearance, Rohatgi referred to a clarification by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests saying that metro rail projects require no environment clearances.

The May 31 order by the NGT had come on a plea that had contended that Noida Metro Rail constructions fell under Schedule 8(b) of Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006. Though the NGT order was in respect of the NOIDA metro project but its shadows were cast on other projects as well.

–IANS

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