NGT grants environmental clearance to Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project in Telangana



The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday maintained that environmental clearance was granted to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project in Telangana "ex post facto" in violation of legal requirement, and formed a committee to assess the extent of damage caused and identify the restoration measures.

The green panel directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to constitute a seven-member expert committee and suggest relief and rehabilitation measures to be adopted.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said the stand of the project proponent that the project executed before the grant of environmental clearance (EC) is unrelated to irrigation is "patently untenable".

"We are also unable to agree that the state did not proceed with the irrigation component in the project till the clearances were granted and only constructed components relating to the supply of drinking water," the tribunal said.

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The tribunal's judgement came on a plea filed by Telangana-based Mohammad Hayath Udin, who alleged that the construction of the scheme had begun without environmental and other statutory clearances.

The plea, filed through advocates Sanjay Upadhyay and Salik Shafique, had sought a ban on any non-forest activities such as felling of trees and blasting and tunnelling activities in the forest areas, which violated the Forest Conservation Act.

Another plea was filed by Thummanapally Srinivas and others who had approached the NGT on the proposal and finalisation of tenders for the expansion of the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project without obtaining prior environmental clearance with an estimated cost of Rs 21,000 crore. (PTI)