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Rayalaseema lift scheme: State gets a shot in the arm

Centre’s affidavit to National Green Tribunal favours A.P.

In what could be termed as a major relief to the State government, the Union government has submitted an affidavit before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) stating that prior environmental clearance was not required for the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS).

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), in the affidavit filed on Friday, said that the RLIS does not attract the provisions of EIA 2006 notification. "The RLIS is not a new project and does not involve any additional culturable command area. It is neither the irrigation project nor the power generation component is involved. The project will also not qualify under expansion and modernisation of existing projects as for the purpose of fresh EC. So it can be inferred that the scheme does not fall under any category listed in the schedule of EIA notification," the Union government said.

The NGT is hearing a petition filed by Gavinola Srinivas of Telangana seeking environmental clearances for the scheme. Advocate General Ramachandra Rao laid arguments on behalf of the Telangana government.

It may be noted that the NGT had constituted a committee under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), which had submitted a report stating that “Prima facie requirement of prior environment clearance is not applicable” for the said project as it was not a new one and was only a supplementing mechanism to tap the assured share of Krishna water for the parched Rayalaseema districts.

Following the report, the tribunal reserved its final order.

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