HC Stays NGT Order On Telangana’s Palamuru Irrigation Project:- The Hyderabad High Court, in a relief to the Telangana Government has stayed the recent order of National Green Tribunal (NGT), constituting an inquiry committee to study the status of construction of the State’s Palamuru Lift Irrigation project of Ranga Reddy District.
A writ petition filed by the state government, challenging the order of the Chennai bench of the tribunal, was dealt with the bench of acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice T Rajani. A committee was appointed by the bench, to visit the lift irrigation site, to ascertain whether the ongoing work was meant for drinking water scheme or for irrigation also.
It may be recalled that one Harshavardhan Reddy approached the NGT contending that in the name of drinking water scheme, huge irrigation project was being taken up and environmental laws and forest conservation Act were violated. A committee was appointed by the bench to ascertain the facts. This order in the HC, was challenged by the Telangana Government. It further contended that the judicial member of the tribunal passed this order, whereas the rules authorized presence of a member with technical expertise on the bench.
The HC bench took this into consideration and stayed the operation of the tribunal order. This interim order would not preclude the NGT from passing similar order when the expert member was present on the bench, the bench made it clear.
In March 2017, all the construction in reserved forest was stayed by the NGT, south zone, Chennai, and said that the environmental and forest clearances was a must.
The NGT, on May 30, passed the order while dealing with an application by B. Harshvardhan Reddy challenging the action of the government in starting the first phase of the project and also clearing 279 hectares of forest without forest or environmental clearances.