Judgment regarding the plea challenging the transfer of 159 hectares of forest land in Jammu district for the development of IIT Jammu has been reserved by the National Green Tribunal. After hearing the point-of-view of all parties, NGT Chairperson, Justice Swatanter Kumar reserved the judgment.
The Environment Ministry along with the Jammu and Kashmir Government were directed to file an affidavit clarifying whether the project under judgment was listed under Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2006.
The affidavit will also mention the steps that are being taken by the project proponent to make sure that environmental degradation will be prevented and that there will be no ecosystem damage if the permission is granted.
The land transfer was challenged by a Jammu native, Nigam Priye Saroop. He argued that transferring forest land was not justified when there is ample of land available in other districts to set up the infrastructure of the college. He said that places like Rajouri, Samba and Udhampur are sectors where the college can be established.
He further stated that giving away forest land will disturb the ecosystem and will affect the region adversely as it is a sensitive area with Ramnagar Wildlife Sanctuary in proximity. He also added that it will cause irreplaceable damage to flora and fauna.
The Jammu Higher Education Department has already started felling the forest trees in order to clear the land for the institute.