The National Green Tribunal has directed an inspection of the Polavaram dam construction site by the Environment Ministry and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) after a plea alleged that large quantity of mud was being dumped in the nearby agricultural lands.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, which refused to pass an interim stay on the construction of the project, ordered the joint inspection team to visit the site and submit a detailed report to the tribunal.
"The counsel appearing for different respondents prays for further time to file their replies. Replies should be filed, positively, within one week as we are presently not granting any interim order and would hear the matter. If the respondents now fail to file their replies, their right to file the same shall stand forfeited.
"The joint inspection team of Environment Ministry and representative of the Central Pollution Control Board shall visit the site and submit a detailed report to the tribunal by the next date of hearing," the bench said and posted the matter for March 21.
The NGT was hearing a plea by economist Dr Pentapati Pullarao who has alleged environment violations at the site and claimed that huge quantity of waste material was being dumped in agricultural lands near Polavaram project.
The plea, filed through advocate Sravan Kumar, had sought directions to the state government to stop mud dumping in villages along West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh for construction of the dam.
Polavaram, which the AP government claims is the "lifeline of the state", has been declared as a national project under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
"The central government shall execute the project and obtain all requisite clearances, including forest, environmental and rehabilitation and resettlement. The Union should take under its control the regulation and development of Polavaram," the Act says.
Accordingly, the Centre constituted the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) for the purpose. The state government, however, has not handed over the project to the PPA and has been going ahead with the execution for the last two years.