AIZAWL: The unscrupulous disposal of soil by a construction company that works on widening of National Highways across Mizoram has led to huge environmental damage, an official said.
Saitual deputy commissioner VL Hruaizela informed that a vast area of forest land, rivers, rivulets or streams and ponds have been destroyed due to failure to dispose soil to ‘spoil bank’ by National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) that works various projects in Mizoram.
The Centrally owned NHIDCL is currently executing widening or expansion works of various National Highways in Mizoram.
Hruaizela said that spoil banks were set up at every two kilometers along the national highways or construction sites between Aizawl and Saitual in Mizoram where the NHIDCL is executing expansions of the national highways.
However, the construction company or contractors used to dispose of spoiled soil unscrupulously at places they found convenient, which led to enormous environmental destruction, he said.
The district administration has set up a Highway Monitoring Committee, which has instructed the company several times to dispose of soil to spoil the bank, he said.
The Saitual deputy commissioner also said two people have so far died in landslides caused by unscrupulous disposal of soil and unsystematic construction of highways by the construction company.
He alleged that the NHIDCL is not properly monitoring contractors and sub-contractors working under it.
A team of media on Saturday paid a visit to National Highway -54 between Aizawl and Seling and National Highway-6 between Seling and Keifang or Saitual where expansion works are going on.
The team discovered that soils are being disposed of indiscriminately and in an improper manner by contractors and sub-contractors without following the guidelines that they should be disposed of to spoil the bank.
As mentioned by NHIDCL in its official website, the widening work of NH-54 is being executed in a joint venture by Gawar Pvt Ltd and SCCPL and is scheduled to be completed by July next year.
Whereas the expansion of NH-6 is executed by GVV Constructions and NG Projects and the project is yet to be complete although it was scheduled by January this year.
Earlier, the Mizoram government had issued a stay order to the NHIDCL to stop its work in some construction sites following the discovery of environmental violations in the wake of a protest launched by a well-known social activist Vanramchhuangi alias Ruatfela Nu and other groups.
Ruatfela Nu had alleged that rivers and forest lands are being destroyed indiscriminately due to the construction or widening of National Highways across Mizoram.
In her memorandum to state principal chief forest conservator recently, Ruatfela Nu had alleged that the NHIDCL has completely disregarded and violated Environment Management Plan (EMP) within the framework of the EIA and also social considerations while disposing of their spoil soils by callously shoving them down the constructed slope, wiping away all biodiversity which are in the way of the disposed spoil soils.
“The worst affected being the rivers and smaller tributaries which are completely covered by these muck and 99.9% of our seasonal and perennial rivers are not visible anymore,” she had said.
She had also alleged that the enormous siltation which has destroyed agricultural lands and polluted the state’s main water subsistence is a result of disregard and negligence of Environmental laws and regulations by NHIDCL and all governmental stakeholders involved at every level.
Despite repeated attempts, officials of NHIDC could not be contacted on the matter.