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Road project: Affidavit filed at Meghalaya HC

A CORRESPONDENT

SHILLONG, Feb 21:  Hearing a petition on the Nongstoin-Mawthabah road project, the Meghalaya High Court today said that as per the Centre’s notification, the objective of up-gradation of Nongstoin-Pambriew-Wahkaji-Mawthabah road is that of ‘facilitating mining of Uranium in Meghalaya’.

On Tuesday, an affidavit was filed by the government, which asserted that there had been a ‘notification’ issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways on ‘Special Accelerated Road Development Programme for North East (SARDP-NE) as on July 5, 2010”.

It is submitted that the same objective has been stated in relation to three other roads on the same sector and these propositions have led to a wide-spread resentment amongst the local people, authorities, various Durbar Shnong and NGOs.

According to the High Court the document “Annexure-1” as filed with this affidavit, indicates such an objective in relation to the roads mentioned at serial no.41 to 44 but the Court said that the document appears to be incomplete and it is difficult to find if the same had been a notification issued by the Ministry.

“Looking to the ambiguity, R Deb th, CGC was requested to take instructions in the matter. R Deb th, after having attempted telephonic conversation with the concerned, submits that he would require a few days time to complete all his instructions and to clarify the matter before the Court,” the High Court said.

Meanwhile, the counsel for the petitioner (Joint Action Committee on Two-Lane Road), on the other hand, has referred to a communication dated 23.05.2016 of the tiol Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited and has contended that the said Corporation had already been clarified the position that they were not directly or indirectly linked with the Uranium Corporation of India Limited and that the construction activity in question was for the development of road infrastructure in the State.

“We are afraid the requisite clarification on the issues as raised by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) in their communication ought to be supplied by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and cannot be stated by the agency entrusted with the task of executing the project,” the High Court said.

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Ankur Kalita