Environmental Clearance to Kaleshwaram irrigation project is in violation of law: NGT

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) stated on October 20, 2020 that environmental clearance granted to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project in Telangana, having a retrospective effect, is in violation of legal requirement. The NGT have also formed a committee to assess the extent of damage that the project has caused and to identify the restoration measures. The panel have directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to constitute a seven-member expert committee to suggest relief and rehabilitation measures.

Background

This decision of the tribunal came in the backdrop of a plea filed by Telangana-based Mohammad Hayath Udin. He had alleged that the construction of the project was started without environmental and other statutory clearances. The plea had seek a ban on any non-forest activities including felling of trees, blasting and tunnelling activities in the forest areas. Since these activities are in violation of the Forest Conservation Act.

Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project

It is a multipurpose irrigation project of the Telangana government. The project is being constructed on the meeting point of River Godavari and River Pranahita. The project was earlier called as the pranahita chevella project and named as Kaleshwaram project in 2014. The project will provide irrigation and drinking water to backward areas of Telangana. It will further help to restore the groundwater level by shifting the usage of ground water from irrigation towards usage of surface water for irrigation.