By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, Sep 27: The High Court of Meghalaya has directed the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) and the state government to submit a report to the court indicating the time frame for launch of the first phase of the Shillong-Dawki road project, whereupon appropriate leave will be granted to fell the requisite number of trees, to the extent absolutely unavoidable.
During the hearing on Wednesday, the petitioner, appearing in person, stated that the status report filed on behalf of the state does not clearly indicate that the work on the first phase of the Shillong-Dawki road project is ready to be commenced.
According to the petitioner, even though the report speaks of the work having been allotted to a private contractor, the report indicates that the NHIDCL would look into the availability of the land for such phase of the work from the land under the occupation of the defence services and would also consult the state as to any additional land.
The petitioner submitted that if negotiations and discussions are yet to be completed in such regard, it cannot be said that the first phase of the work is ready to be commenced.
“For the moment, the Court’s interest is confined to the grievance indicated in the petition to the effect that several trees have been felled in the ruse that the project will get underway, but it is often the case that such projects are not ultimately undertaken or completed,” the court said.
The court said there is substance in the petitioner’s apprehension and as directed earlier, no further felling of trees should take place in Shillong or in respect of the area covered by the first phase of the work without actual construction work being ready to be commenced.