The Supreme Court on Tuesday made the Director-General of Forests, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, as the Chairperson of the expert committee formed to oversee the compensatory afforestation for the Delhi-Dehradun Expressway project, while also putting onboard two more members in the committee.
A bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Aniruddha Bose ordered DG Forests, MoEFCC, C.P. Goyal, as the Chairperson of the committee, formed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
The top court of the country passed the order on an appeal filed by Uttarkhand-based NGO “Citizens for Green Doon,” challenging the NGT order, which had refused to cancel the forest clearance granted to the project.
While explaining that the replacement of the Chairperson should not be seen as an expression of lack of confidence on the Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, the Apex Court said that it was recasting the Committee to ensure that a broad understanding was facilitated in carrying out the work of implementation.
The Apex Court also included founder of Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organisation (HESCO), Dr Anil Prakash Joshi and environmentalist Vijay Dhasmana as additional members in the Oversight Committee.
The NGT had constituted an oversight committee, headed by the Chief Secretary of the Uttarakhand Government, to ensure that mitigation measures were implemented and monitored on the ground and overseen by an independent mechanism.
The 12-member Expert Committee, formed by the NGT, was headed by the Chief Secretary, Uttarakhand, with WII, CPCB, Uttarakhand State PCB, Chief WildLife Wardens, Uttarakhand and UP, SEIAA Uttarakhand, FRI, Dehradun, Divisional Commissioners, Saharanpur and Dehradun and Conservators of Forest, Dehradun and Saharanpur, Chief WildLife Wardens, Uttarakhand as members.