Legal Correspondent

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice T. Meena Kumari and Justice G. Rohini on Monday suspended the operation of order of the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) quashing the environmental clearances granted to the multipurpose Polavaram project.

The bench gave the orders while admitting a writ petition filed by the State Government challenging the order of NEAA and posted the final hearing on the matter to February 11.

Clearance

The Government approached the court after the NEAA set aside the environmental clearance given by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, (MOEF), in response to a writ petition filed by Mountain Environics. The bench heard the arguments of Advocate General C.V. Mohan Reddy and K.G. Kannabiran, counsel for the Girijana Sangham, which filed petition to implead in the case.

The arguments of the counsel for Mountain Environics were taken on record and the submissions made by Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board senior counsel S.R. Ashok and Assistant Solicitor General of India A. Rajasekhar Reddy on behalf of MOEF were perused in detail for two days.

The bench which studied the genesis of NEAA and provisions of Environmental Protection Act, and the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notifications gave interim orders in open court on Monday.

It opined that the issue needed deeper and comprehensive adjudication.

Further, it took note of the fact that the Collectors of respective districts in Orissa and Chhattisgarh were informed on September 29, 2005 about the public hearing to be held at Bhadrachalam on October 10, but there was no response.

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