NGT expresses displeasure against Telangana over PRLIS report, KRMB made nodal agency – The New Indian Express

Following AP’s suggestion, the NGT has appointed the Krishna River Management Board as the nodal agency.  
Published: 28th August 2021 07:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2021 07:13 AM   |  A+A-
Krishna river. (File photo| EPS)
VIJAYAWADA: Alleging that the Telangana government has ‘systemically evaded’ compliances by ‘evasive and non-transparent’ strategies in the implementation of Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS), the Andhra Pradesh government impleaded in a petition filed by a resident of Telangana’s Mahbubnagar district in the National Green Tribunal against the project alleging environmental violations.
The NGT also expressed displeasure over Telangana’s Mining and Geology Department, which was appointed as a nodal agency for coordinating the visit of a committee constituted earlier to submit a factual report, for not furnishing the report. Following AP’s suggestion, the NGT has appointed the Krishna River Management Board as the nodal agency.  
The Southern Zone bench of the tribunal heard the petition filed by the AP government on Friday requesting to implead in the original petition filed by Kosgi Venkataiah from Mahbubnagar district alleging that the Telangana (TS) government was taking up illegal mining in the guise of PRLIS construction. 
Alleging that there were more violations than the ones raised by the original petitioner, the AP government sought to intervene in the matter being the ‘Parens Patriae’ of legitimate rights of its citizens, who would be affected by the construction of PRLIS without any social impact assessment, including environmental hazards within Telangana.
In the petition, AP Water Resources Secretary J Syamala Rao alleged that the TS government ‘dubiously and artificially’ divided the PRLIS into two phases – irrigation (83.9 TMC) and drinking water with evaporation losses (6.1 TMC) – to evade legal scrutiny. 
“The intention of bifurcating the project is to evade the scrutiny of the tribunal and go ahead with the project without prior environmental clearance,” AP said. It further informed the tribunal that TS conducted a public hearing for phase-I of the project, i.e. drinking water component, alone on August 10, 2021, and that no social impact assessment or environmental studies were carried out for phase-II, which involves the irrigation component.
The AP government also informed the bench that the Telangana government made different submissions to different legal forums to avoid scrutiny. It said that the pre-feasibility report submitted to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest by TS did not show any specific apportionment for drinking water component, but the neighbouring State filed project notes before the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT-II) that 83.9 TMC out of the 90 TMC project is for irrigation.
AP also apprised the bench that PRLIS was not cleared by the Central Water Commission and the KRMB, but that TS was going ahead with the project in violation of the undertaking given to the tribunal which is ‘nothing but contemptuous’. Following this, the tribunal agreed for AP to implead and directed the State to file a counter affidavit in the matter.
Advocate General of AP S Sriram and the counsel representing another petitioner D Chandramouleeswara Reddy from Kadapa also alleged that though the five-member committee constituted by the NGT to inspect the project was ready to visit the worksite, the Mines and Geology Department ‘consciously’ showed no interest nor coordinated with the members. The NGT expressed displeasure and appointed the KRMB as the nodal agency for inspection. AP also stated that the public hearing needs to be conducted for phase-I and phase-II together.
Violations galore in PRLIS: AP 
The Andhra Pradesh government impleaded in a petition filed by a resident of Telangana in the NGT against PRLIS, alleging that the TS government had ‘systemically evaded’ compliances by ‘evasive and non-transparent’ strategies in the execution of the irrigation project
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