VIJAYAWADA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has decided to constitute an ‘oversight committee’ to be headed by a retired High Court judge to monitor the implementation and compliance with environmental norms in the execution of Polavaram Irrigation Project. The tribunal said that the retired judge would be picked after consultation with the chief justice of the AP High Court.
A three-member bench headed by NGT chairperson AK Goel, on Tuesday, heard the petition of environmental activist Pentapati Pulla Rao alleging environmental violations in project execution. Rao’s advocate Sravan Kumar informed the bench that the state officials were not complying with the norms and cited that the directions given by the AP Pollution Control Board and the joint committee constituted by the tribunal.
He informed that several environmental issues were witnessed due to illegal dumping of construction wastes and additional land acquisition for the same without proper environment impact studies. The counsel expressed fear that if the environmental violations continue, it may lead to environmental disasters such as the recent glacier burst in Uttarakhand. He further alleged that the state was ‘harassing’ the petitioner and family members by not paying compensation for filing petitions in the tribunal. Responding to the same, the tribunal directed the government to immediately pay the compensation.
It is learnt that the counsel representing the state government explained the steps taken by the officials in implementation of the recommendations of the joint committee constituted on the issue. However, the tribunal did not express satisfaction over the same, and constituted a committee to monitor the implementation of environmental norms. The chairperson of the bench AK Goel said the panel, to be headed by a retired HC judge, will have members from IIT, Hyderabad, IIT Delhi, and Indian Institute of Soil Research.