Kaleshwaram gets forest clearance

Kaleshwaram gets forest clearance
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Highlights

The Kaleshwaram project has crossed a major hurdle with the Ministry of Environment allowing the Telangana state government to make use of 7,920 acres of forest for the project. The Forest Department advisory committee has accorded the clearance.

Hyderabad: The Kaleshwaram project has crossed a major hurdle with the Ministry of Environment allowing the Telangana state government to make use of 7,920 acres of forest for the project. The Forest Department advisory committee has accorded the clearance.

The State Government had earlier requested the Government of India for forest clearance for construction of barrages, tunnels, canals and as well as all reservoirs, including the Mallannasagar.

The Kaleshwaram project envisages construction of a barrage across the the Godavari river near Medigadda village in Karimnagar district for diversion of 180 tmc ft of water for providing irrigation facility in 7,38,851 hectares covering seven erstwhile districts of Adilabad, Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy. It also proposes to provide water facility to Hyderabad city.

The project had suffered a setback as the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had decided not to clear it till the project proponent obtains and submits in principle the clearances from the Central Water Commission.

The committee was of the opinion that the state government should submit the techno-economic feasibility of the project first. This project faced another hurdle when Gudi Venkat Reddy and five other farmers from Peddapalli district approached the High Court complaining that the authorities were forcibly taking possession of their lands with the help of police and were digging their lands using heavy machinery making them unfit for use in future.

The petitioners have also alleged that this takeover of their lands and carrying out of construction activity for Sundilla Barrage under the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project was in direct violation of the interim order passed by the division bench of the High Court in a Public Interest Litigation petition on February 7.

However, the High Court cleared the way for the government to go ahead with the Kaleshwaram project by observing that the Telangana government was within its right to pass an award, take possession of the land and continue with the construction of the project.

In the backdrop of this situation, the Chief Minister took up the issue with Prime Minister and the Union Ministry for Water Resources. Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Thursday expressed his happiness for the clearance and complimented the state Irrigation and Forest officials for the concerted efforts to get the Centre’s nod.

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