'Ensure highway work is not at nature's cost'

Voicing concern over ecological impact of 4-lane Srinagar-Jammu national highway, an Assembly panel has stressed on ensuring zero tolerance for pollution and adoption of eco-friendly practices in the construction.

The committee on environment, headed by CPI (M) MLA from Kulgam M Y Tarigami, also pressed upon central and state construction agencies to ensure strict implementation of various labour welfare laws such as Workmen’s Compensation Act and Payment of Wages Act to generate interest among the labourers engaged in the project.

Tarigami also asked the state’s Pollution Control Board to submit the internal management assessment report on the project before the committee within a fortnight.

The meeting took a detailed view of the impact of various construction activities, including the highway connecting Pathankote, Jammu, Srinagar and Baramulla, on the fragile environment of the state and the remedial measures taken by the concerned construction agencies in this regard.

He reminded that development can take place at any time, but environment once polluted is very difficult to recover.

“Environmental pollution is detrimental for living beings and there should not be any compromise on it,” Tarigami said.

He asked the central agencies to ensure close collaboration with the state environment impact assessment committee in this regard.

Ground water distribution of the area should be taken into consideration while undertaking road and power projects, he said.

Tarigami while urging for eco-friendly engineering practices, stressed the need to conserve natural flora and fauna, with focus on protecting wild life sanctuaries, monitoring of air, noise and water quality to ensure the effectiveness of the environmental management measures.

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