Post Mortem

Four lane in Nagaland: Violation of Right to Life & Personal Liberty

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 1/28/2021 1:26:05 PM IST

 Wrenched in guilt for not writing this article sooner but I reckon it is still not too late. I share this on behalf of all the affected residents alongside the ongoing four lane National Highway in Nagaland. I cannot remain a mute spectator for I have seen enough with my bare eyes for the last two years how we the residents have been exposed to extreme dust pollutants.

While appreciating the suo motu case taken up by Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court, what has been ignored or neglected is the air pollution generated from the four lane. Isn’t air pollution a civil wrong also a crime? It was all because of the delay and the construction company and NHIDCL are to be held accountable for not taking up adequate measures.

As per information received under RTI, the Environmental Management Plan of M/S RAMKY-ECI (JV) and M/S Gayatri Projects Limited, both has assured the following that :

1. “The road surface shall be hosed or watered using suitable equipment to avoid dust pollution”.

2. “We will take all reasonable steps to minimize dust nuisance during the construction of works”.

3. “Air pollution monitoring shall be carried out at least once a month to verify that air pollution norms are being followed by the contractor and the air quality at the construction site does not exceed the prescribed limits”.

4. “Planting of trees along the highway as part of compensatory planting and also at locations sensitive to air pollution like schools, hospitals etc., which are very near to the highway boundary”.

Both the Construction Company has not conformed to the standards of EMP.

Coming to Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it guarantees Right to life & personal liberty. It guarantees a life of dignity, to live in pollution free environment. It is the right of residents to breathe in clean air, and freely sit out, dry clothes or food, etc. They have clearly violated right to life and personal liberty.

Furthermore, I question the credibility of the Nagaland Pollution Control Board for not being diligent and remaining toothless when genuine complaint was made to the Board. The Board empowered under AIR Act, 1981 had a role to play to combat air pollution in the State.

As I delve deeper into the book, “The Great Smog of India” by Siddharth Singh, the book gives me the notion that air pollution is a very complicated issue and to combat it is to strike a balance everywhere rather than to completely seal the outlets that causes pollution. It is understandable that it is not facile to prevent Air Pollution, however, Nagaland in comparison to Delhi’s situation can easily take up this genuine problem.

We require development at any field but that should not be at the expense of human life. A Project like this should be taken with great care so as not to pose risk to the public health. The road itself is not important than human life.

Rokosieno Meyase

Medziphema town

 

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