In a jolt to the Mayawati government in Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court on Friday restrained it from proceeding on the ambitious Ganga Expressway project aimed at connecting the state's eastern and western parts and directed it to obtain prior environmental clearance.
The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhusan and Justice Arun Tandon, on a petition filed by a Varanasi-based social organisation 'Ganga Mahasabha', which alleged that the proposed 1,000-km highway would expose large parts of the state to many environmental hazards.
Delivering the judgment, the division bench said "the state government must not proceed with the eight-lane highway project unless and until it obtains a due clearance from the state-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority" in accordance with law.
The court quashed a clearance certificate of the SEIAA, dated 23.08.2007, produced by the state government, saying the same had not been obtained "in accordance with law".
The judgment comes as yet another jolt to the Bahujan Samaj Party government in the state, which was ticked off by the Supreme Court earlier this week when it had approached the apex court for a stay on the contempt proceedings pending at the High Court in the police recruitment scam.