Hyderabad: The National Green Tribunal on Thursday refused to order a stay on the ongoing work on Kaleswaram, a major irrigation project of the Telangana state government.
The Tribunal gave the government 10 days to file a counter affidavit and set the next date of hearing to August 16.
Mr Hayathuddin, a native of Siddipet, has filed a petition before the NGT stating that the Telangana government is executing the gigantic project without following the mandatory procedures, and without even obtaining clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
He also contended that there was a major threat to the environment from the completed project.
Advocate general D. Prakash Reddy, appearing on behalf of the TS government, sought one month’s time for filing the counter but the Tribunal granted only 10 days.
Under the Kaleswaram project, 180 tmc ft of Godavari water will be used to supply ayacut of 18 lakh acres in several districts of the state through various lifts.
The estimated cost of the project is Rs 1 lakh crore.
Clearance for stage-1 on 8,000 acres of forest land has already been received.
The contention of the state government is that nowhere in the country are irrigation projects executed only after obtaining necessary clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forests, as the process of obtaining clearances will take a minimum of two years. It has been a practice of the government to execute the work and get the clearances simultaneously.
However, the Act clearly says that without getting clearance no project work should commence.
Top officials given permission to make study visit to project
The TS government has given permission to 19 IAS and two IPS officers including special chief secretaries, principal secretaries and secretaries to visit the Kaleswaram irrigation project site.
Issuing orders to this effect, the state government said that the period of their absence from work shall be treated as “on duty”.
The irrigation department will be arranging a bus on August 3 for the officers.
Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in a review meeting recently told the IAS officers to visit ongoing irrigation projects to know ground realities and firsthand information about the development works taken up by the state government.
Accordingly, Chief Secretary S.P. Singh issued orders on Thursday permitting the officers to visit the project site.
Special chief secretaries B.P. Acharya, S.K. Joshi, Suresh Chanda and Rajeswar Tiwari, principal secretaries Somesh Kumar, Sunil Sharma, K. Ramakrishna Rao and Jayesh Ranjan, secretaries Y. Srilakshmi, M. Jagadeeswar, Sabyasachi Ghosh, B.M.D. Ekka, Sk Sultana, S.O. Jaleel, V. Niranjan Rao, Z. Hanumant Kondiba, Valluru Kranthi and P. Uday Kumar along with IPS officers C.V. Anand and Anjani Kumar will visit the project site.
The bus will leave at 8 am on August 3 and return to Hyderabad the same night....