Hyderabad HC vacates stay order of NGT's Chennai bench

Hyderabad, Jan 3 (PTI) The Hyderabad High Court today vacated the stay order of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for Palamuru Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) on the condition that the Telangana government will not take up any construction for irrigation purposes without obtaining statutory clearances.
The Chennai Bench of NGT had on December 13 directed the government, not to go ahead with the first phase of execution of the scheme on the ground that, it had not obtained necessary clearances under the Environment Protection Act, Forest Conservation Act and Wildlife Protection Act, although, the construction was underway.

The Tribunal directed the matter to be listed before them on January 17, 2017.

The state government had filed a writ petition in the High Court, questioning the orders of the Tribunal on the ground that it exceeded its jurisdiction and passed an ex-parte order.

A Division Bench headed by acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice A Shankar Narayana observed that, the Tribunal could not have passed an ex-parte order without affording an opportunity to be heard to the State Government.

The Division Bench took note of the argument of the Advocate General that, on account of the stay of the constructions, the government was losing Rs 10 crore each day towards cost escalation and damages to be paid to the contractors on account of stoppage of the work.

The Bench, however, directed the state government to undertake only such constructions which are intended for supply of drinking water to Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy Districts.

The Bench imposed conditions prohibiting the state from taking up any constructions for irrigation purposes without obtaining statutory clearances.

The purpose of the PRLIS is to irrigate upland areas of Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda districts, bring drinking water to villages en route and to Hyderabad city.-PTI

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