NGT asks Govt to explain environment okay for Ken-Betwa river linking

New Delhi, Nov. 6 (PTI): The National Green Tribunal has asked the Union government and others to reply to a petition challenging the environment clearance granted to the Ken-Betwa river linking project, which is on the priority list of the ruling National Democratic Alliance.

A bench of NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, the Ministry of Water Resources and Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh—the states where the project would be located.

”Issue notice to the respondents...all the action taken by any of the respondents meanwhile shall be subject to final order that may be passed by the tribunal upon hearing the matter finally,” the bench said.

The Rs 18,000-crore project aims to link the Ken river in Madhya Pradesh and the Betwa river in Uttar Pradesh to transfer the surplus water of one river to another.  

The NGT was hearing a plea filed by environment expert Himanshu Thakkar seeking a stay on the project on the ground that it lacks environment impact assessment and public consultation in affected districts.

It also claimed inadequate appraisal by Environmental Appraisal Committee (for River Valley Projects) and contradictions between forest clearance conditions.

The first phase of the project, worth Rs 9,500 crore, is expected to help irrigate 6.35 lakh hectares annually. Of this, 3.69 lakh ha fall in Chattarpur, Tikamgarh and Panna districts of Madhya Pradesh and 2.65 lakh ha in Mahoba, Banda and Jhansi districts of Uttar Pradesh. 

A Tiger at Panna Tiger Reserve. Picture Courtesy:http://www.pannatigerreserve.in/



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