NHIDCL accused of gross negligence and violation of environment laws in Dibang Valley

[ Karyir Riba ]

ANINI, 8 Sep: The National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) has been accused of gross negligence and violation of environment laws, causing excessive damage to forests, wildlife and rivers, as well as compromising the environment and life of people of Dibang Valley (DV) district.

Rakhini Mipi, an environment activist and permanent resident of DV, has pressed charges on the NHIDCL in the matter of the ongoing road widening work connecting Anini with Roing (Lower Dibang Valley district), under the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in North East (SARDP-NE).

Mipi pointed out that according to the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules – 2016, and the environment law, it is a pre-requisite norm for any construction authority that construction activity in any given area should dispose their construction and demolition (C&D) waste in a specific area which should be far away from forests and other prohibited area.

“However, this and other SOPs are not being paid any heed to by the NHIDCL,” said Mipi.

“All the C&D waste, including earth cutting, is being dumped straight downhill, which has destroyed millions of trees, bamboo, cane and other vegetation, and into the river down below. This irrational act on the part of the NHIDCL has not only destroyed huge forest land but has also restrained the flow of river water, also causing it to change its course. In addition, the chemicals discharged from the C&D waste has been polluting the water and is posing threat to the river species, leaving many dead. Overall, the NHIDCL has been playing deaf and has been putting under threat the environment, the ecology, wildlife and human life of DV,” said Mipi.

The environmental activist has also alleged that despite making complaints regarding the issue with the DC, DFO, police of Dibang Valley, and the PCCF, there has not been any action taken to rectify the mistake, and this has only encouraged the NHIDCL to willfully ignore the environmental hazard it is causing at such a large scale.

“There are other highway projects in Dibang Valley, and the same thing is happening. Wild life sanctuaries are being destroyed without obtaining forest clearance. All this is done at the whim and fancy of the requiring agency, thereby destroying flora and fauna of the area, and robbing innocent poor villagers of their ancestral property,” he said.

Mipi has also written to the National Green Tribunal requesting early intervention in the matter. The NHIDCL has been allegedly turning a blind eye towards his requests for any information regarding the issue.

When contacted, the GM NHIDCL said that since he has joined his duty just five days back, he will not be able to comment on it. “I will first have to assess the construction area to be able to say anything on the matter,” he said.

NHIDCL is a fully owned company of the MoRTH, Government of India.