NGT issued a notice to the Centre on clearances granted to the Rs 1,800-crore Ken Betwa River linking project
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued a notice to the Centre on clearances granted to the Rs 1,800-crore Ken-Betwa river linking project. A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar issued the notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Water Resources Ministry and the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, where the project is located, and sought replies within two weeks.
The NGT was hearing a plea by environmentalist Himanshu Thakkar, who sought a stay on the project on the ground of lack of environmental and human impact assessment.
“The project’s completion will be subject to a final order from the tribunal,” NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said. The National Democratic Alliance government’s ambitious project seeks to interlink Ken River in Madhya Pradesh and Betwa in Uttar Pradesh to re-route surplus water.
In December 2016, the then Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti said that the Wildlife Board of India had given its green signal to the project, clearing the last hurdle.
However, as per the Environment Ministry, the project would harm forests and wildlife habitat in the area, including loss of 58.03 square km of Panna tiger habitat in Madhya Pradesh in the first phase.
On the other hand, the project is expected to provide drinking water to over one million people and irrigate about six lakh hectares of land in drought-prone regions in both states, especially the Bundelkhand region.
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