Rashid Paul

HC directs notices at PGCI, govt over construction of grid station in Harwan

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Srinagar, Feb 24: J&K High Court on Monday directed notices against Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCI) and the J&K Union Territory authorities for “illegally” constructing a grid station in a populated area in Harvan in the city outskirts. The land had earlier been “marked” for a public health center and a school.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur put the PGCI and some related senior heads of the departments in J&K on a short notice as to how the grid station is being constructed “flouting” the settled norms.

A public interest litigation filed by the affected residents of New Theeed Harvan through advocate Shafqat Nazir prayed that the construction of the grid station in the populated area be immediately stopped and the land be assigned for building a hospital and a school.

The grid station is part of the ambitious project by Government of India to connect Leh (Ladakh) with its National Power Grid by a transmission line via Kashmir, said the petitioners.

Advocate Shafqat Nazir, told this newspaper that the power grid had initially been proposed in Ganderbal. However, the structure and an overhead transmission line would have affected the land worth crores of rupees belonging to a senior bureaucrat and a local businessman.

The duo managed the relocation of the grid station in a prized public land in Harvan, he said.

The petitioners said that the J&K Health and Medical Education Department had assented to the construction of new building for primary health center in part of the 20 kanal land. They said the Education Department had also given a favorable report for constructing a higher secondary school in remain portion of the land.

Recently the PGCI without any authority started laying the construction material for their grid station on this piece of public land. The grid structure shall radiate electromagnetic waves which shall affect the health of the population living around it, they said in their petition.

The petition said that the PGCI has gone on an environmental rampage on the land by uprooting its valuable biodiversity. Oak and sweet chestnut trees brought in by Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947 have been pulled up by their bulldozers.

The upcoming grid station shall also destroy the water supply system and a large biomass, it added.

It prayed that the authorities be directed to relocate the station to place where it shall have least impact on the socio, economic, cultural and environmental biodiversity.

The matter has been posted for further hearing on 17th of March.



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