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Green tribunal forms expert committee for eco-friendly repair of Howrah bridge

The committee has been asked to submit its report within a period of two months

The Plurals News Network | Published 07.03.22, 09:54 PM
Howrah bridge

Howrah bridge

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The much-needed repair of the Howrah bridge awaits the nod of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

On March 2, the eastern zone bench of the National Green Tribunal formed an expert committee to finalise “the measures to be adopted for the repair of the Rabindra Setu (Howrah bridge)” adhering to the environmental norms.

The order, uploaded on the NGT website on Monday, was passed after Kolkata Port Trust filed an application seeking permission to set up a roadside hot mix plant for repairing the bridge using asphalt.

“The NGT clearance is critical as the tribunal had passed an order on September 18, 2018, subsequently reiterated on October 1, 2018, where it banned setting up of hot mix plants at repair sites across Bengal as such practices trigger surge in air pollution,” said environmentalist Subhas Datta, who first moved the green court in 2016 opposing the practice.

As a matter of fact, the green tribunal earlier dismissed a similar appeal from Kolkata Municipal Corporation to allow hot mix plants for road repair work.

A hot mix plant is used to prepare road repair materials and releases highly toxic carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons, fine and ultrafine particulates as well as oxides of carbon.

Kolkata Port Trust, in its submission, pointed out that Rabindra Setu has completed about 78 years of service and is used to carry approximately 1 lakh vehicles and 1.5 lakh pedestrians daily. It also said that the roadway and two footpaths on this bridge are now in a poor condition and require re-laying.

The port trust further stated that due to the bad condition of the road and footpaths on the bridge, there has been a lot of water leakage and corrosion to its iron supports.

In response, the bench, comprising Justice B. Amit Sthalekar and Expert Member Saibal Dasgupta directed the formation of an expert committee on March 2.

The committee will have five members including experts from IIT Kharagpur, IIT Guwahati, CSIR- Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) New Delhi, Central Pollution Control Board, eastern division, Kolkata and West Bengal Pollution Control Board.

“The Committee shall examine the site in question with regard to the measures to be adopted for repair of the Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge)," reads the tribunal order.

The committee will also look for other environmentally friendly alternative methodology that could be used for carrying out repair works at the Howrah bridge.

The committee has been asked to submit its report within a period of two months.

Last updated on 08.03.22, 11:37 AM
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