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India


NGT admits petition challenging clearance to Ken-Betwa river project

New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI) The National Green Tribunal has admitted a Comprehensive Appeal challenging the environmental clearance to Phase I of Ken-Betwa river linking project between Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.


While admitting the appeal filed by water expert Himanshu Thakker, the three-member bench asked the governments concerned to file a response in two weeks.


The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Union Ministry of Water Resources, Governments of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are respondents in the petition.

At the same time, responding to a Miscellaneous Application for a `stay' on the project while the matter is taken up, the NGT order said: “We dispose of this application with direction that 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. None of the parties would be permitted to claim any equity for the work done during the pendency of this application.”


Amongst the grounds in the Comprehensive Appeal are, ''inadequate Environment Impact Assessment, lack of impact assessment and public consultation in affected districts (Banda, Jhansi, Mahoba) and also those of Madhya Pradesh, violations in public hearings, inadequate appraisal by Environmental Appraisal Committee (for River Valley Projects), contradictions between Forest/ Wildlife Clearance Conditions and those of Environment Clearance, among others''.

Both rivers originate and flow into Uttar Pradesh. The project claims to transfer surplus waters of Ken to Betwa, create irrigation potential, provide drinking water and generate hydropower.

Speaking to the UNI, Mr Thakker said, ''We have filed a public interest litigation in the interest of the public and it should be taken in that spirit.''

Some 10,000 families will be displaced in Madhya Pradesh and there will be downstream impact on people in UP.

UNI GP RSA 1908
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