The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Bench, on Tuesday ordered notices to the Union government, State government and other authorities, on applications filed by environmental activists challenging the conversion of around 10,000 acres of ‘Amrit Mahal Kaval’ land (pastoral land) for industrial purposes in Chitradurga district. The activists also alleged that in violation of norms, the land has been transferred by the State government to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the Indian Institute of Science (IIS), the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

On February 9, the tribunal’s Bench, comprising judicial member Justice M. Chockalingam and expert member R. Nagendran, admitted the application of Leo F. Saldanha, an environmental activist from Bangalore, who challenged the conversion.

In his application, Mr. Saldanha urged the NGT to direct the authorities of the State and Central governments to maintain the ‘Amrit Mahal Kaval’ land free from any diversion/encroachments and sought to remove any civil construction illegally erected on the land and restore the land to its earlier state.

When the matter came up for hearing on Tuesday, the tribunal found only some of the respondents had appeared and ordered fresh notices to respondents including State and Central governments and other private parties.

Serious allegations

Posting the matter for further hearing to March 1, the tribunal also asked the respondents to appear through counsel at the earliest since the matter pertains to serious allegations on 10,000 acres of land conversion.

Meanwhile, Environment Support Group represented by its trustee, Arthur Pereira, filed another application seeking similar relief.