HC stays Belagavi-Goa National Highway work

 The High Court has granted interim stay on the work of widening national highway-4A between Belagavi and Goa, till January 6.

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Pradeep Singh Yerur was hearing a PIL filed by environmentalist Suresh Heblikar and journalist Joseph Hoover.

The court observed that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had obtained clearance from the National Wildlife Board in 2007 and it was for five years.

But the NHAI has initiated the work after the expiry of the period and it is necessary to take fresh clearance or renew the old one.

During the hearing, advocate for the petitioner, Prince Isac, contended that the NHAI has initiated the work between Belagavi and Goa through Dandeli forest. During the widening of the road of 14 kilometers in the thick forest, around 22,000 trees have been cut and one lakh trees will be cut soon for the same work.

Even though the area lies in an eco-sensitive zone, environmental clearance was not obtained, he said.

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