HPC meet elicits strong objection from Chair, calls it unauthorised
Sunday, 18 October 2020 | PNS | Dehradun
A meeting of the high powered committee (HPC) on the Char Dham all-weather road project on Saturday was termed unauthorised by the committee’s chairman Ravi Chopra even as the member secretary of the committee held the meeting in the absence of the chairman and four members. While Chopra pointed out that the meeting had been called by the HPC member secretary and Garhwal commissioner Ravinath Raman on the directions of the chief secretary and not on the directions of the committee chairman, Raman stated that the HPC chairman and other members had been requested to attend the meeting.
It will be recalled that earlier in September, a Supreme Court bench had ordered the Centre to adhere to a March 2018 circular of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and reduce the width of the roads under the ambitious Char Dham project from 12 metres to 5.5 metres. The Supreme Court appointed HPC is monitoring the construction of the Char Dham road project and ensuring that the same is done as per the directions of the apex court. On Thursday, the HPC member secretary called a meeting of the committee on Saturday on the directions of the chief secretary. According to Chopra, the member secretary cannot call any meeting of the HPC without the concurrence of the Chair. Stating that as a member secretary, Raman is accountable for the HPC which is an independent body created by the Supreme Court and answerable only to the court, Chopra added that the member secretary had no authority to impose any other’s directions for its functioning. He stressed that the meeting held on Saturday was unauthorised and in violation of the apex court orders. “As member secretary your duty is to carry out the orders of the Supreme Court and not the chief secretary. I have not agreed to your calling the meeting on October 17. The said meeting has no locus. It is without any authority,” wrote Chopra in an email to Raman.
According to sources, the working of the HPC was discussed in the meeting on Saturday. After the said meeting, Chopra said that it was highly objectionable and a sign of the state government’s wrongful infringement in the functioning of the HPC.
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