In a major move that provides relief to the Telangana government, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Tuesday dismissed two petitions that were filed against the state's Kaleshwaram project.
According to media reports, one petition was dealing with cancelling all permissions given earlier, while the other demanded that an enquiry committee be formed to look into allegations surrounding the massive project.
The petitions were filed by Hayatuddin, a resident of Siddipet district, who contended that works were taken up without securing the requisite clearances.
However, the tribunal said that the project had got all permissions that were needed and dismissed the petition asking for a committee. Meanwhile, the next hearing for the other petition seeking cancellation of permissions was posted to September 17.
Speaking to reporters after the NGT verdict, Telangana Irrigation Minister Harish Rao said that it was another slap to those, including opposition parties, who were opposing the project since its conception.
In December last year, the Kaleshwaram project, being built across Godavari River in Telangana, received environmental clearance from the Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, it was announced.
The Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) on irrigation projects gave the clearance for the project at its meeting held on December 5, according to the minutes of the meeting released in Hyderabad by the Telangana government.
Being built at a cost of about Rs 80,499 crore, the project will divert 180 TMC of water to irrigate 7.38 lakh hectares.
It envisages construction of a barrage near Medigadda village in Karimnagar district to irrigate the land in seven districts. Proposed to be completed in three years, it is also expected to stabilise the existing command area of 7.62 lakh hectares.
The project also proposes to provide drinking water facility for Hyderabad and Secunderabad cities. It required about 32,000 hectares of land out of which 2,866 hectares is forest land.
The construction of the project will lead to submergence of about 13,706 hectares including 302 hectares in Maharashtra.