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NGT rules environment clearance for Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project has been granted in violation of law

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New Delhi (ILNS): The National Green Tribunal today held that the environment clearance (EC) for the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project has been granted “ex post facto (out of the aftermath) in violation of the legal requirement for prior EC.”

Accordingly, the bench, headed by Chairperson Justice  Adarsh Kumar Goel, directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to constitute a seven-member expert committee, preferably out of EAC members with relevant expertise to assess the extent of damage caused in going ahead with the project without EC (from 2008 to 2017) and identify the necessary restoration measures.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Md Hayath Uddin, a farmer affected by the construction of the project, challenging the order of the MoEF&CC granting Environmental Clearance (EC) for Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) project in Karimnagar District of Telangana by Irrigation & Command Area Development Department, Government of Telangana.

The bench on the submission made by the Project proponent that the scheme is for providing water to the drought-prone areas of the Telangana and the project had two parts drinking water and irrigation said: “We are unable to accept the stand of the project proponent that primarily the project is for water supply and water management and that irrigation is subsidiary or incidental part of the project so as to hold that no EC was required prior to the execution of the project from 2008 to 2017”.



The bench further said that “We are also unable to agree that the state did not proceed with the irrigation component in the project till the clearances were granted and only constructed components relating to supply”.

Observing that the environmental clearance was granted to the lift irrigation project “ex post facto” in violation of legal requirement, the bench said that “all activities are clearly part of the irrigation project which cannot be separated from other objectives. It is difficult to accept that all such activities are only for drinking purpose”.

The bench has directed that the expert committee be constituted within one month and it may complete its exercise within six months thereafter.

Read the order here;

Judgment-20.10.2020

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