TS likely to approach SC challenging NGT penalties

HYDERABAD: The state government is exploring legal options to challenge the National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders imposing a fine of Rs 920.8 crore for violations related to environmental clearances to Palamuru-Ranga Reddy and the Dindi lift irrigation projects.

It may be recalled that on Thursday, the NGT’s southern zone bench at Chennai had imposed the hefty fines after declaring that the Telangana government had gone ahead with the construction of the two projects without seeking environmental clearances by claiming that they were designed for drinking water supply, a category for which such clearances are not required.

Following the NGT orders, a meeting of the state irrigation department’s senior officials, chaired by Rajat Kumar, the special chief secretary, was held to take stock of the post-NGT orders situation. He said the meeting primarily reviewed the orders in detail, took stock of their full implications and sought legal advice from the additional advocate general on the options before the state.

Rajat Kumar said there were adequate grounds for the state to explore options for legal recourse in the matter and there were ‘certain points in our defence’. A final decision on the way forward is expected to be taken later.

Meanwhile, another senior government functionary said that there were precedents where similar NGT orders on penalties were challenged in the Supreme Court. In the past, the Andhra Pradesh government was ordered to pay a fine of Rs 24.56 crore by the NGT over its Purushothapatnam lift irrigation scheme on Godavari river. The state approached the Supreme Court for relief following which it was asked to pay only the contempt fee of Rs 2.48 crore.

Further, Telangana government was in the process of obtaining the required permissions for the two projects and there are grounds for the state to seek relief from the Supreme Court, the official said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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