HASSAN: Finding prima facie merit in an appeal filed by activist K.N. Somashekar, who challenged the grant of permission to axe trees to facilitate works under Yettinahole Integrated Drinking Water Project, National Green Tribunal (NGT) headed by Justice Swathanterkumar on Monday stayed cutting of trees in the project area until further orders while posting the case to November 11.
Ministry for Environment and Forests (MoEF) had granted permission to axe as many as 5,000 trees in the Yettinahole Project area in Sakleshpur of Hassan following which Mr Somashekar went in an appeal to the NGT saying the Yettinahole Project proponent, Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited (KNNL) had been granted permission in violations of the law by the state and Union governments.
Yettinahole Project is aimed at supplying water from west flowing streams in Sakleshpur to drought-prone areas of Tumakuru, Ramanagara, Bengaluru Rural, Chikkaballapura, Kolar and other areas in east Karnataka.
According to Mr Somashekar, the NGT in its order said the Tribunal has directed the advocate for the state government to give an undertaking to the court that no trees will be cut further in the project area because of the forest clearance order.
The KNNL has been granted time till Friday to file their objections if any.
Later, Mr Somashekar told Deccan Chronicle that “Permission to cut 5,000 trees in the project area does not include bamboos. In fact, an estimated 1,500 bamboo trees have been marked to be chopped to make way for the works.” The activist also charged that MoEF had imposed certain conditions before granting permission for stage-1 and stage-2 of the project but KNNL has not complied with the guidelines.
Despite this, MoEF has granted permission for stage-3 of the project. Sakleshpur being a sensitive area where human-animal (elephant) conflicts are often reported, Mr Somashekar said the permission to chop trees could only aggravate the problem....