Tamil Nadu

Mettur-Sarabanga lift irrigation project can proceed, says NGT

The project will divert surplus floodwater from Mettur dam to Sarabanga river by lift irrigation. File photo  

The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal has allowed the Tamil Nadu government to proceed with the Mettur-Sarabanga lift irrigation project and has dismissed an application filed by a former DMK MP, seeking a stay on the project. He claimed that prior environmental clearance was not obtained before work for the project commenced.

Former DMK MP A.K.S. Vijayan from Nagapattinam moved the tribunal, alleging irregularity in the construction of the project to divert surplus floodwater from the Mettur dam to the Sarabanga river by lift irrigation, and said the project was envisaged in total disregard of riparian rights of the delta farmers.

A joint committee formed by the NGT to undertake a field visit and file a report submitted that the proposed irrigation area under the project was 4,238 acres of land, which was less than 2,000 hectares and as per the amended 2018 EIA Notification, the project fell under the category of minor irrigation systems that are expressly exempted from the requirement of environmental clearance.

Another contention raised by the applicant was that since the project involved the interests of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, clearance from the Central government was required. On this, the tribunal said the water received from Karnataka was only being regulated and that water from the Mettur dam was not being shared by any two States and was being utilised only for the benefit of Tamil Nadu. Hence, there was no necessity for obtaining permission from any other authorities.

Dismissing the application, the bench also directed the local bodies concerned to ensure that there is no discharge of untreated sewage or effluents into the river that would pollute the river water in the project area.

The bench also directed the Public Works Department and the Irrigation Department to ensure that the right of the existing riparian owners to get the required water during the lean season is not be affected, as far as possible, while preserving and conserving the surplus flood water expected to come from Mettur dam.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 7:52:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mettur-sarabanga-lift-irrigation-project-can-proceed-says-ngt/article34321492.ece

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