Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled visit to Amarkantak in Anuppur district in Madhya Pradesh on May 15 has sparked a fresh controversy with the National Green Tribunal serving a notice to the district collector asking him to explain the environmental impact the visit is likely to have on the place from where the Narmada river has originated.
The NGT in its notice to the Anuppur district collector has asked him to appear before the tribunal on April 27 with water and air pollution figures and explain how the Prime Minister's visit is going to impact Amrit Dhara, the originating point of the Narmada river.
Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to visit Amrit Dhara in Amarakantak on May 15 and participate in the concluding event of Chief Minister Shivraj Singh's ongoing Namami Devi Narmada Seva Yatra. An estimated five lakh people are expected to participate in the concluding event that is to be presided by the Prime Minister.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan started the 148-day-long Namami Devi Narmada Seva Yatra from Amarkantak on December 11, 2016 and it will conclude in Amarkantak on May 15. The Yatra, according to Chouhan is aimed at making river conservation into a mass movement.
The MP government is organising workshops and public meeting during the course of this yatra in which issues like sanitation, need for forests, soil and water conservation and pollution control measures are being taken to the people living along the banks of the Narmada river.
The latest NGT notice has come on a PIL filed by one Sanjeev Tiwari of Amarkantak in 2016. Tiwari in his petition had urged the NGT to crack down on illegal construction along both sides of the Amrit Dhara in Amarkantak.
According to Dharmveer Sharma, the counsel for the petitioner, the NGT is already monitoring the construction activities in Amarkantak and notices have been served to the district administration in the past as well.
"The fresh notice has been served to the district collector asking him to appear in person on April 27 as over 5 lakh people are expected to turn up at the Prime Minister's event. This is likely to have an adverse impact on the place from where the Narmada river has originated. The district collector has been asked to come up with the fact," Dharamveer Sharma while talking to India Today said.