The Kaleswaram project, being built across Godavari River in Telangana, has received environmental clearance from the Union Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, it was announced on Monday.
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.
In October this year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered an interim stay on the lift irrigation project, pointing out that the state government did not have adequate environmental clearance.
The NGT stated that, â€œBy an ad interim injunction, the respondents are restrained from carrying out any construction activities for the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme or any other activity like felling of trees, blasting and tunnelling in the forest areas in violation to Forest Conservation Act, until the mandatory statutory clearances including Environment and Forest clearances are granted.
Since then, the project had already secured the forest clearances for the phase I and II.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao asked the officials to complete the project on fast track to remove the suffering that was endured for decades for want of water.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister's office, the EAC expressed satisfaction over the project report prepared by the Telangana government and observed that there is no danger to the environment due to this project.