CHENNAI: In response to an original petition moved by S Joel, district MDMK secretary, Thoothukudi, to desilt the Srivaikuntam dam, the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to consider the proposal of the State government to desilt the 150-year-old Srivaikuntam dam within 10 days.
Joel approached the NGT stating that the dam, if maintained properly, could store about 8,000 million cubic feet (MCft) of additional water which would irrigate more than a lakh acres.
On April 9, the Bench directed Thoothukudi collector to file a memorandum to the MoEF seeking clearance to desilt Srivaikuntam reservoir and directed the ministry to consider it.
On Wednesday, the Deputy Conservator of Forest, MoEF, appeared before the tribunal and submitted his reply stating that the MoEF could not consider the proposal as it was not sent through proper hannels.
Recording his submission, the Bench comprising Justice P Jyothimani and expert member R Nagendran said, “We regret that the MoEF appears to be adopting a stand giving more importance to technicalities rather than substance.”
“To put an end to the issue, we direct the proposal already sent by the State government to be sent again to the MoEF within three days and the ministry shall consider it on merit and pass orders within 10 days,” the bench added.