In a shot in the arm for the Andhra Pradesh government, the state has secured the required environmental clearance for its proposed capital city of Amaravati.
Union environment minister Prakash Javdekar said on Wednesday that the state-level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (EIAA) has cleared the proposal to construct Amaravati on the right bank of river Krishna.
The government now needs to secure two more clearances from the AP Pollution Control Board - a consent for establishment and a consent for operation to go ahead with the construction of the capital, a Times of India report adds.
This clearance comes four days after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) extended a halt on construction activity in the area.
"Stay orders prohibiting all kinds of construction in the capital city zone will continue. Do not take up even land leveling work and do not remove any crop from this zone," the NGT had said, when informed by the state that the latter was yet to get the requisite environmental clearance.
The state government is expected to submit the EIAA's report to the NGT, and seek an end to the case.
A senior official hoped that these clearances will be obtained before Oct 22, when the foundation stone for Amaravati will be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The construction of Amaravati falls under category 'B' as far as pollution norms are concerned, the state need not seek clearances from the Centre unless it category 'A' which include highly polluting industries.
EIAA clearance is enough for projects that come under category B.
"For forest clearance, if the area is big, it comes to the Union ministry. Offline permissions are being given and the notification is getting readied," union minister for forests and environment Prakash Javadekar told Deccan Chronicle.