SC cites Kerala floods to order EIA for Himachal project

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Union Environment Ministry to do an impact assessment on removing boulders from the riverbed system in Himachal Pradesh.

The observation from the top court assume significance against the backdrop of the flash flood which recently struck Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

A bench, headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian, noted that removal of sand and stones from the riverbed triggered problems in Kerala, where massive floods hit the state a few years back.

The bench noted that it is a fact that when stones and boulders are removed, then they have a direct impact on the flow of rivers.

The top court stressed that the Environment Ministry should an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh and formulate a report on the probability on the adverse impact on the flow of the river.

The bench noted that company Paras Stone Crusher will bear the cost of the EIA. The company had sought the court’s permission to collect boulders falling from the nearby forest areas on the riverbed in Kullu district, citing that they have got the necessary environment clearances.

Advocate A.D.N. Rao, appearing as amicus curiae in the matter, submitted before the bench that the state committee has granted the environmental clearance without any EIA.

The bench asked Rao to suggest an agency to do the EIA of the proposed site. He replied the zonal office of the Environment Ministry can do the EIA and submit a report in the court.