New Delhi: On the petition challenging the construction of the Yamuna Expressway connecting Noida to Agra, the Supreme Court has issued notices to the Centre and the Uttar Pradesh government to answer on the project and the five related townships.

The bench comprising of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice CK Prasad issued notices while hearing of the petition filed by Lucknow resident Sachidanand Gupta. Representing the petitioner, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Gaurav Malhotra said, the project was violating the environmental laws and regulations.  

As a reply, court advisor P Narsi said, if the case is related to environment, it must be referred to the Green Tribunal. The bench postponed the hearing in this regard.

The petition has asked for the cancellation of the five township projects and to discontinue the construction work until it receives environmental clearance by the Centre. It is said, the Yamuna Expressway would adversely affect the Yamuna and the fertile land in the area.

The petition claims the project illegal as it has not received any environmental clearance by the Centre nor has it asked the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NERI) in this regard.

For the record, the Yamuna Expressway is aimed at reducing the travel time from Noida to Agra and to boost up the development of the region. However, there is already an eight lane national highway between Delhi and Agra and an another road on the same route via Agra, Aligarh and Hathras which is expected to be widened in the coming period.

The debate is on the justification of this project aimed at reducing travel time but on the cost of using a big part of fertile agricultural land for the purpose.

The Mayawati led UP government has engaged JP Infratech Limited involved in construction of the Yamuna Expressway for building five hi-tech townships in the region and for the development of commercial, industrial and institutional regions on the 2,500 hectares of land acquired for the purpose.

The land fixed for the construction of the national highway is the most fertile region of the Yamuna basin in western Uttar Pradesh and is therefore against the environment laws and balance of nature. Also, the expressway along with the townships will add to the already polluted Yamuna.

(JPN/ Bureau)