MANGALURU: Delivering a mighty blow to the state government on the Yettinahole project, a month before the final verdict, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Kaveri Niravari Nigam limited (KNNL), the principal licence holder for the Yettinahole river water lift project, not to cut anymore trees at the site of the project.
The NGT in its orders issued to petitioner K N Somashekar, had questioned the government as to who asked them to cut the trees and transport them. This has nailed the lies floated by the government and the Forest Ministry, which says that only 1.3 acres of forest would be lost.
The Tribunal observed with some degree of resentment and anger that the government advocate had lied to the Tribunal and tried to mislead it. The application filed by an advocate for K N Somashekar on Monday, had sought for a stay on the Yettinahole project. Advocate Prince Isaac submitted to the Principal Bench headed by justice Swathantrakumar, that large trees are being cut from the project area inordinately by the user agency, and contractors, which has caused damage to the ecological sensitive area of the Western Ghats.
“The advocate for the state of Karnataka lied to the court that due permission was taken to cut and remove the trees,” Prince Isaac pointed out. He said an FIR is registered against KNNL which indicates that due permission was not obtained. The Bench took serious note of the illegal cutting of trees, and directed that there shall be no cutting of trees in the project area. The Bench also directed the counsel for KNNL to find out the total number of trees cut, and directed to plant 10 times the number of trees felled, and to report the same to the Tribunal by the next hearing date.
The case stands posted for the original date for final hearing, and the hearing on the stay application on September 21.