Transco fined Rs 50 lakh by NGT for deviating from project

Corp. installs high tension towers instead of monopoles, fells 1.8K trees across forests
Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only. (File photo | Express)

HYDERABAD : The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has slapped a fine of Rs 50 lakh on the TS Transmission Corporation of Telangana Limited (TSTRANSCO) for altering the gazette-approved project of installing monopoles and instead installing high tension quad towers through Mrugavani National Park and Chilkur Reserve Forestland.

In its order, the NGT observed that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had granted permission to TSTRANSCO for the erection and installation of 400 KV overhead DC transmission lines from Kethireddipalli to Raidurg along the ORR, Shamshabad Division, Telangana, and through forest area situated within Chilkur Reserve Forestland.

As part of the 43 km long transmission line, TSTRANSCO, instead of installing the monopoles, erected five quad towers across the forest area without due approval.

The Tribunal also disagreed with TSTRANSCO’s claim that the alteration from monopoles to quad towers was made to alleviate the financial burden.

In an earlier affidavit filed to the NGT, TSTRANSCO had stated that the cost of erecting five monopoles was approximately Rs 6.18 crore, whereas the cost for the five quad towers was about Rs 1.9 crore, and that the poles were substituted with quads to ease the economic burden. The project, which also resulted in the cutting down of 1,851 trees, could have been avoided if the proper procedures and functions had been followed by the authorities, the NGT observed. The NGT directed TSTRANSCO to pay the penalty of Rs 50 lakh to MoEF&CC, Hyderabad, within two months and further stated that the amount will be used for the improvement of Mrugavani National Park and to enhance tree cover in the Chilkur Reserve.

The NGT, however, refrained from directing the replacement of the quad towers with monopoles, citing that it would lead to a disruption of power supply and a consequential impact on the users.

Collector warns of action against those excavating sand in Manair river

A day after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the state government to stop sand excavation in the Manair river in the name of de-siltation, saying that it constitutes an environmental threat and violation, district collector Muzammil Khan directed authorities from the Revenue, Police, Panchayat Raj, Mining, and Irrigation departments to coordinate and ensure that the excavation is stopped.The collector, on Wednesday, warned that stringent action would be taken against those excavating sand from the river bed. He directed authorities to register cases against the owners, drivers, and staff of vehicles involved in such activities. He said that surveillance at sand reaches and mining sites would be intensified and emphasised that no operations should be conducted without permission from the government. Currently, there is no permission for sand excavation from the Manair river and until a government decision is made, no sand excavation or transportation is allowed.

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