The National Green Tribunal today ordered an interim stay on Telangana government’s Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project which aims to take water to its drought-hit regions, due to lack of environmental clearances.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim restrained the Maharashtra and Irrigation and CAD Department of Telangana from carrying out any construction activities on the ₹80,500 crore project until mandatory statutory clearances including environment and forest clearances are granted.
“We have heard the counsel for the applicant and the contesting respondents today regarding interim relief.
However, as the expert member who was part of the composition of this bench, is demitting office on October 8, considering all attending circumstances and urgency in the matter, for the detailed reasons that will follow, we are pronouncing the operative portion of the interim order.
“By an ad interim injunction, the respondents are restrained from carrying out any construction activities for the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme or any other activity like felling of trees, blasting and tunnelling in the forest areas in violation to Forest Conservation Act, until the mandatory statutory clearances including Environment and Forest clearances are granted.
“However, we grant liberty to the respondents to seek modification or clarification of this order, upon grant of such clearance,” the bench, also comprising expert member Ranjan Chatterjee, said.
The order came after advocate Sanjay Upadhyay, appearing for the petitioner, sought an immediate stay on the project.
The project envisages the construction of a barrage across river Godavari near Medigadda village in the Karimnagar district of Telangana for diversion of 180,000 million cubic feet of water which could irrigate 7,38,851 hectares of land, covering the erstwhile Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Rangareddy districts of Telangana.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Telangana-based Mohammad Hayathuddin, who alleged that the construction of the scheme had begun without environmental and other statutory clearances.
The plea had sought a ban on non-forest activities such as felling of trees and blasting and tunnelling activities in the forest areas which were in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.