Vijay Pinjarkar, Times of India

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Nagpur: The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court consisting of Justice BR Gavai and Justice SB Shukre on Wednesday issued contempt notice to National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) chairman and its regional officer for not obeying its order on completion of NH7 towards Pandharkawda side.

On December 17, 2014 the NHAI had submitted a plan to the court and committed that entire road stretch will be completed by December 31, 2016. However, even after two years the road has not been repaired or completed.

Earlier, on November 14, 2014, the court had directed NHAI to grant approval for the maintenance of the stretches on NH7 within a period of one week. The court had also made it clear that actual work for maintenance and repairs of the said road would commence in any case within a period of 4 weeks.

Justice Gavai had further made it clear that court will not entertain any excuses on behalf of NHAI for not starting the work within stipulated period. As the work was not started, NHAI CGM MK Jain had tendered an unconditional apology then.

However, in a fresh move, the NHAI filed a fresh affidavit on Thursday seeking extension by 19 months till 2018 to complete the road work. Irked by the NHAI stand, the court issued contempt notice to NHAI chairman and regional manager and has asked them to personally remain present in the court during the next hearing. The high court was of the view that why did NHAI hide the fact till now by not completing the road.
Commenting on the NHAI delay, wildlife biologist Milind Pariwakam said, “Wildlife conservation is unnecessarily criticized as a field for slowing development. This case clearly shows that NHAI has many faults in its own financing models, contracts given out, internal administrative matters that slow down development.”
NA Padhye was amicus curiae while NHAI was represented by Adv Ghare and AA Kathane and Adv Sudhir Puranik appeared on behalf of Conservation Action Trust (CAT).


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