State government going ahead on work ignoring directions of Centre and NGT, says petitioner
Telangana High Court had issued notices to the State and the Central governments in a PIL petition seeking a direction to stop works enhancing capacity of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) from drawing 2 TMCft per day to 3 TMCft per day.
A bench of justices Shameem Akther and K. Lakshman passed the interim direction after hearing the plea filed by Cheruku Srinivas Reddy. The bench instructed the the governments to file affidavits within four weeks answering the contentions raised by the petitioner.
The petitioner contended that Telangana government secured permission for KLIP to draw 2 TMCft water per day from Godavari river. Works related to the project started in 2016 and reached near completion in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the government started additional land acquisition to enhance the project capacity to 3 TMCft per day.
It called for tenders and started works during pandemic time “without completing the assessment and obtaining necessary statutory clearances,” the petitioner said. He stated that “with the pressure tactics of the executive and land acquisition officers, some farmers surrendered their lands”.
While Union Jal Shakthi Minister wrote to Telangana Chief Minister not to go ahead with the new works relating to additional 1 TMCft capacity, the National Green Tribunal said in an order that the additional capacity works should be treated as a new project. For this, a new environment impact assessment and clearance was required.
Not paying heed to such directions, the State government had gone ahead with the fresh construction works relating to the additional 1 TMCft capacity of the project, the petitioner contended. Meanwhile, the Central government exercising its powers under A.P. Reorganisation Act-2014 issued a gazette notification no. 2637 on this July 16 constituting the River Boards for Krishna and Godavari rivers.
Declaring the works relating to 1 TMCft as a new project, the Centre instructed the State government not to undertake any works pertaining to it. Despite such instructions, the State government had undertaken works putting at stake huge amounts of public money, the petitioner said.
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