SC vacates stay on construction activities in Uttarakhand

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New Delhi : The Supreme Court on Wednesday vacated its order of August 31 by which it had stayed construction activities in Uttarakhand.

A bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Deepak Gupta also allowed the request of Uttarakhand government that Rs 3 lakh cost imposed on it by the court should go for the relief and rescue operations going on in the state.

On August 31, the top court had imposed a cost of Rs 3 lakh on the state government for not framing a policy under the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016.

During the hearing, the Uttarakhand government told the apex court that they have framed the policy as per the 2016 rule and would be placed before the cabinet for approval.

The bench also observed that the states have rushed to the court as the "builders may have gone after them".

It also allowed Maharashtra government's plea seeking clarification that there was no stay on construction activity in the state.

The Uttarakhand government has approached the apex court on Tuesday pleading that the state is facing a "crisis situation" due to formation of an artificial lake in Tehri Garhwal, adding that the stay on construction activities be vacated so that relief measures could be undertaken to save human lives.

Construction activities have been stopped at a time when the state is facing a crisis due to rains and landslides, the counsel said.

Hearing the pleas, the court also questioned Maharashtra government about utilisation of cess collected under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.

It asked whether the money was being used on workers' welfare and directed it to give details about it with regard to construction workers in Mumbai.

"You have collected crore of rupees under this (cess) and you are not giving it to these persons (construction workers)," the bench said.

On August 31, the top court had slammed some states and union territories, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh for not framing their respective policies on solid-waste management even after two years, and had stayed further constructions there till they come up with it.

It had imposed a cost of Rs 3 lakh each on Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh.

The top court is hearing a matter related to the implementation of the Solid Waste Management Rules.

It had earlier directed the Central government to submit a chart, indicating whether states and union territories have constituted state-level advisory boards in accordance with the provisions of the said rules.