CHENNAI:The Southern Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to immediately consider the proposal of the TN government to desilt Srivaikundam dam and pass orders before June 5.
On May 13, the NGT pulled up the MoEF for giving more importance to technicalities rather than the substance of the issue while considering the proposal.
S Joel, Thoothukudi District Secretary of MDMK moved the NGT to desilt the 150-year-old Srivaikundam dam stating that if maintained properly, it could store about eight thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of additional water to irrigate more than one lakh acres of land.
On Thursday, the Government Pleader for the ministry submitted that a latest inspection of the dam revealed that for desilting it, nearly 800 trees had to be cut and therefore it required more time to get an approval.
Refusing to accept the ministry’s contention, the Bench comprising judicial member Justice P Jyothimani and expert member R Nagendran said, “What is required in this project is only desilting of Srivaikundam dam within the river area and some distance in the river. There is no question of cutting of any trees in that area during the process.”
“Therefore, we direct that the desilting has to be effected in the area without touching any trees,” the Bench added.
The Bench further directed the State government to send a fresh proposal to the ministry on or before June 02 and to inform the outcome to the tribunal.
The matter was posted at the Vacation Bench of NGT, New Delhi on June 05 for further hearing.