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NGT directs Andhra Pradesh to get EC for Godavari-Krishna-Penna river interlinking project

Wednesday, 14 Aug 2019
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The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Andhra Pradesh government not to go ahead with interlinking of Godavari-Krishna-Penna rivers and construction and operation of Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme, Purushothapatnam Lift Irrigation Scheme and Chintalapudi Lift Irrigation Scheme, without getting the necessary environmental clearance.

The two lift projects, Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme, Purushothapatnam Lift Irrigation Scheme  are part of Polavaram major irrigation project.

The cost of the inter-linking of Godavari-Krishna-Penna rivers is Rs 84,000 crore.

The bench observed that none of these schemes had obtained necessary environmental and forest clearances and noted that the state government can go ahead with the projects only after obtaining necessary clearances.

The NGT bench’s order was based on a report filed by the Joint Inspection Committee (JIC) constituted by the tribunal on 30 May 2019. The JIC comprising officials from Central Pollution Control Board, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board and Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change submitted the report on 28 June 2019.

The state government had cited that Pattiseema and Purushottapatnam lift irrigation schemes were not independent projects, but part of the Polavaram major irrigation project and will cease to exist once the Polavaram project was complete. Also, once the Polavaram irrigation project is completed, the equipment of the two lift schemes will used elsewhere.

Also, since it will take another four years to complete the entire Polavaram irrigation project, the lift schemes were built to lift water from Godavari river on right and left sides into the already existing canal structures.

Similarly, Chintalapudi lift irrigation scheme was meant for providing drinking water to 410 habitations, besides irrigating 1.94 lakh ha of land in upland areas of West Godavari and Krishna districts.

The forest clearance was obtained for part of the project, while application for clearances for the Stage-II of the project was pending.

The JIC, however, noted the three lift schemes required environmental clearances as the project involved forest land acquisition and had other environmental implications.

The JIC observed that for Godavari-Krishna-Penna river interlinking project was yet to commence as no detailed project report (DPR) was prepared.

It was noted that the government cannot proceed with any construction activities including land acquisition without getting environmental clearance and preparation of DPR.


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