Krishna river banks not to be cleared without clearance: NGT

NGT has directed Andhra Pradesh not to carry out any operation of the clearing of the land falling in the project area without obtaining the environment clearance for the project in question.

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has directed the Andhra Pradesh government not to carry out any operation of clearing of land near the floodplains on the banks of river Krishna for construction of a new state capital without obtaining the environmental clearance.

A bench headed by Justice U D Salvi said that under the provisions of Environment Clearance Regulation 2006, it is an obligation upon the state not to indulge in any clearing activity within project area before obtaining necessary environmental clearance.

"We, therefore, direct the state of Andhra Pradesh not to carry out any operation of the clearing of the land falling in the project area without obtaining the environment clearance for the project in question," it said.

The direction came after advocate Sravan Kumar, appearing for petitioners Pandalaneni Srimannarayan and others, submitted photographs showing bulldozers engaged in ground clearance.

"If this be true, this runs contrary to the commitment made by Andhra Pradesh on July 27, 2015 that the state shall abide by all statutory requirements which are necessary to protect the environment," the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing on November 5.

It also asked Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to file its reply on the plea in two weeks and directed the Andhra Pradesh government to file the details of the demarcation of the flood plains and the identification of the wetlands on the next date of hearing.

Earlier, the Andhra Pradesh government has assured the green panel that it will not take any action which would damage the environment near the floodplains on the banks of river Krishna for construction of a new state capital.

The petition had sought an immediate stay on acquisition of floodplains and wetlands between Vijaywada and Guntur City on the banks of Krishna.

The state government has issued notification identifying the location of the capital between Vijaywada and Guntur cities on the banks of the river and notified an area of about 7,068 sq kms for capital region and 122 sq kms as Andhra Pradesh capital city area.

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