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NGT directs committee to assess damage caused by Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project

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New Delhi [India], October 20 (ANI): Holding that the environment clearances granted to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project in Telangana were in violation of the law, the National Green Tribunal on Tuesday directed to constitute an expert committee to assess the extent of damage and identify the restoration measures necessary.
“In the present matter, the project is predominantly for irrigation though water supply is also involved. Plea to the contrary is untenable. Thus, the EC has been granted ex post facto in violation of the legal requirement for prior EC,” a bench of the NGT, headed by its chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said.
The NGT was hearing a plea, filed by one Md Hayath Udin, challenging an order dated December 22, 2017, of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change granting Environmental Clearance (EC) for Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme project in Karimnagar District by Irrigation and Command Area Development Department, Telangana government.
The appellant, who is a farmer and resident of a village in Siddipet district, said he is affected directly by the instant project. “As against the factual position depicted, the project proponent wrongly claims that the project was not for lift irrigation but only for drinking water supply till grant of EC,” the petitioner submitted.
The tribunal also observed that “undoubtedly the project seeks to provide drinking water to the needy people and irrigation facilities to improve agricultural productivity which serves public interest.” It also noted that a huge amount of public money has been spent.
“At the same time, it is not necessary that for such development, damage to the environment must be ignored and adequate safeguards are not to be adopted. Environmental rule of law need not be considered to be in conflict with the need for development but a facet of development. The development has to be sustainable and the light of principles which the country has accepted in the form of the framework of legislation and best environmental practices,” the NGT said. (ANI)

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