Gudatipally oustees hope to get justice

Three member committee appointed by NGT to verify whether permissions were violated by expansion of capacity of Gauravelli reservoir

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has in its order on August 13, 2021, ordered constitution of three- member a joint committee to look into the permissions obtained by the State government with regard to construction of Gouravelli reservoir. The committee would have a senior officer from Ministry of Environment and Forests, Integrated Regional Office, Telangana, a senior officer from Godavari River Management Board and senior officer from Central Water Commission, Integrated Regional Office, Hyderabad.

The Gouravelli project was initially designed with 1.41 tmcft but in the redesign the capacity was increased to 8.23 tmcft. Gudatipally in Akkannapet mandal is one of the villages that would submerge in the reservoir.

“In order to ascertain the genuineness of the allegations made and also to find out whether there is any violation committed, we feel it appropriate to appoint a joint committee to inspect the area in question and also to examine the project and submit a factual as well as action taken report if there is any violation found,” read the order issued by the NGT.

The committee is directed to ascertain whether the proposed project requires any prior environment clearances, what is the impact of the project on environment, whether any study has been conducted by the State of Telangana before going into the question of expanding the project as alleged by the applicant, what is the nature of consequential impact due to subsequent receding area of the reservoir, which is likely to lead to submergence or inundation of nearby villages, whether any alternative rehabilitation projects have been envisaged by the government to replace or resettle the persons likely to be effected by the project, whether any ecologically sensitive areas are likely to be effected on the account of project being expanded and if there are any violation committed in proceeding with the project against the environmental laws. The committee is also directed to assess the environment compensation and also suggest the remedial measures to restore the damage caused to the environment.

The committee was instructed to submit the report before September 30.

“Going ahead with works without taking prior permissions or environment clearance and not paying us total compensations is not right on the part of government. The committee will dig out the facts by next month,” Gudatipally sarpanch Baddam Raji Reddy, who filed complaint at the NGT told The Hindu.

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