Today's Paper

NGT issues contempt notice to govt.

In a significant development, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued contempt notice to the State government for violation of its directives to stop work at Amaravati.

The Tribunal further asked the government to upload the Environment Clearance (EC) certificate within 24 hours on its website. Notices were also issued to the State Environment and Urban Development Departments and Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA).

The document was uploaded on the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) website. However, the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) could not upload the same citing technical reasons. The CRDA officials maintained that they would upload the document soon after the return of CRDA Commissioner N. Srikanth, who was away on a foreign tour.

“According to National Informatics Centre (NIC) rules, it is not possible to upload the document unless the Commissioner issues an order,” an official said.

‘It is not EC’

Meanwhile, green activists sharply criticised the EC document. Former bureaucrat-turned social activist M.G. Devasayam said, “By no stretch of imagination, it can be called an EC. One read is enough to understand that the ‘EC’ is nothing more than Terms of Reference (ToR). It is a major fraud.”

The exhaustive procedure of making elaborate studies of various aspects was done away with to hurriedly ‘produce’ an EC certificate. The government had applied for it on September 9 and it acquired this ‘conditional’ EC by October 9. It has 92 conditions to fulfil which, the government will need to go through an exhaustive process that may take a minimum of two years. With these conditions, the government can’t place even a single brick at the construction site, Mr. Devasahayam maintained.

Green activist Pandalaneni Srimannarayana, who challenged the Amaravarti project, said though the government had been claiming that it had got the EC, it was yet to make it public.

CRDA officials, however, said that they had issued an advertisement in newspapers on the EC. It was uploaded on SEIAA website, a CRDA official said.

Mr. Srimannarayana had filed a fresh non-compliance petition against the government under Section 25 to Section 28 of the NGT Act. Subsequently, the NGT issued orders, he said. His counsel Sravan Kumar said, “It seems the government is trying to delay the procedure to see that there is minimum litigation.”

“From the last three adjournments, the NGT has been asking the CRDA to demarcate wetlands and flood prone areas in the capital region. The CRDA had provided some old information which was turned down by the NGT, which sought fresh demarcation,” Mr. Srimannarayana said.

Govt. told to upload environmental clearance certificate within 24 hours on its website