Hyderabad: In a major setback to Andhra Pradesh, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday directed the Krishna River Board Management (KRMB) to independently inspect Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme (RLIS) without any assistance from the AP government.
The NGT, hearing a contempt petition filed by Gavinolla Srinivas against AP projects, asked the Board to explain the proper reasons for failing to visit the project site, Additional Advocate General J Ramachandra Rao told Telangana Today. In its affidavit filed before the Tribunal, the Board requested the NGT to pass an appropriate order and ensure justice as the AP government was not facilitating the visit by a KRMB team to inspect RLIS.
Rao, who argued the case on behalf of Telangana government, one of the respondents in the case, brought to the notice of the Tribunal the threats held out to Board officials by AP officers. Officials from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, who are also part of the team, also refrained from making the visit on account of the tense atmosphere.
Rao also informed the Tribunal that the Telangana government was willing to bear the helicopter charges apart from expenses related to accommodation and other paraphernalia if a team from the KRMB was willing to carry out the inspection.
In response, the Tribunal is reported to have asked: “Is the government ready to bear the expenses?” Rao replied in the affirmative. The Tribunal then instructed the Board to inspect the site. “Visit the site. Let’s see what will happen…… We will take care…,” the Tribunal observed, asking the Board to submit a detailed and clear report after the inspection.
The Tribunal later posted the matter to August 9. Sources said the Board could not explain the reasons behind failing to do inspection before the Tribunal. It was only after Telangana brought to its notice the threats being held out that the Tribunal asked the Board to complete the inspection without AP’s assistance.
Meanwhile, the counsel for AP government, contended that no NGT direction was violated.
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