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Assam: SC orders status quo at Doloo tea estate in Cachar

Assam: SC orders status quo at Doloo tea estate in Cachar

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New Delhi, April 9: The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Assam government to maintain the status quo at the Doloo tea estate in the Cachar district of Assam, where Greenfield airport is proposed to be constructed.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra questioned the state government for clearing the shrubs in the tea garden without an environment impact assessment report.

The top court also issued notices to the Centre, ministry of environment and forests, Assam government and others on a plea filed by Tapas Guha and others.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the NGT erred in decision and even for the grant of site clearance and in-principle approvals, environmental clearance is necessary.

The NGT on January 25 had dismissed the plea by Guha and others on the ground that environmental impact assessment report is awaited and the environmental clearance for the airport in question has not been granted.

“Counsel for the Applicants has drawn our attention to the Government of India, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Notification dated May 16, 2008, particularly column under the head ‘Environment Clearances’ and submits that even for grant of Site Clearance and In-principle approvals, Environmental Clearance is necessary which can only be done once the EIA assessment study is done.

“In our opinion, mere inclusion of a clause under the head ‘Environment Clearances’ in a Form of the said Notification does not deem the same to be mandatory for purposes of EIA assessment study,” the NGT had said.

The plea in NGT had sought seeking a direction to cease further action related to the construction of the Greenfield Airport at Doloo Tea Estate till a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is conducted according to EIA notification and to restore the Doloo Tea Estate to its original condition as of May 12, 2022, by replanting uprooted tea bushes, felled shade trees and rectifying the damage caused to the landscape and ecosystem.

The Airports Authority of India has submitted an application under the Greenfield Airports (GFA) Policy, 2008 to the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) for the grant of ‘site-clearance’ for the development of a Greenfield airport at Doloo tea estate in Cachar, Assam.

The ministry of civil aviation has launched Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) — UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) on October 21, 2016 to stimulate regional air connectivity including in the North Eastern Region, and making air travel affordable to the masses.

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