VIJAYAWADA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has posted the matter of contempt petition against Andhra Pradesh government in the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) to September 16 after the State requested time to put forth its arguments if the tribunal has the authority to take action in the matters of contempt.
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has submitted an independent statement, as sought by the tribunal, noting that there was no sign of progress at the project site and added that Andhra Pradesh stated that the works done were related to the preparation of detailed project report (DPR).
The southern zone bench of the tribunal continued the hearing on the contempt petition on Wednesday filed by one Gavinolla Srinivas from Telangana and the Telangana government. The bench considered the statement of the MOEF in which the Union Ministry concluded, “There are no signs of progress in project construction work activities and earlier procured construction materials were stored at the project site. Project proponent submitted amendment to the existing environmental clearance to include Rayalaseema Lift Scheme to MoEF ... and (it) is being appraised by the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for river valley and hydroelectric projects.”
The report was submitted by scientist Suresh Babu Pasupuleti, who inspected the project site on September 6. The MOEF’s statement also observed that a detailed technical joint committee inspection report by the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) was already submitted to the tribunal in August. It may be recalled that KRMB committee had submitted to the bench that works “in excess” of those required for the preparation of the DPR were taken up by the Andhra Pradesh government.
After examining the report, the NGT is reported to have opined that based on the photographs enclosed in the MoEF’s statement it appears that the works were not just pertaining to the DPR. The petitioner’s advocate, Sravan Kumar, informed the bench that the images in the reports of both the KRMB and MOEF indicate that there was contempt of the tribunal’s order.
The Andhra Pradesh government is said to have requested the bench to hear the former’s views if the tribunal has the authority to take action in case of contempt. With the Andhra Pradesh government seeking more time to make its arguments, the NGT posted the matter to September 16.