The National Green Tribunal today sought responses from the Centre and Andhra Pradesh government on a plea seeking an immediate stay on acquisition of flood plains and wetlands for construction of a new state capital on the banks of river Krishna.
"Issue notice to all the respondents. Put up for further hearing on July 27," a bench headed by judicial member U D Salvi said.
The counsel appearing for the petitioners claimed that while selecting the location for the greenfield capital city, to be called 'Amaravathi', AP government has not considered the ecological and environmental aspects taking into account the fact that the areas identified fell in flood-prone zone.
"There is every likelihood of a major environmental disaster and huge loss of public money if these areas are developed without any environment impact assessment," lawyers Parul Gupta and Sravan Kumar, appearing for petitioners Pandalaneni Srimannarayana and Anthati Kamalakar, said.
The bench then asked the counsel whether the petition was premature as nothing has been done yet. "How can you say that no Environment Impact Assessment study was done before taking up such a big and major project. What is the frequency of floods in the areas," it asked.
To this, the counsel said that frequency of flood is high and, as per her knowledge, no such study was conducted despite the recommendations of an expert committee set up by the Centre for the new capital of Andhra Pradesh.
The bench then said it would look into the matter once the respondents filed their replies.
The petitioners have made Ministries of Environment and Forests, Urban Development and Water Resources, the AP government and Andhra Pradesh Capital Region Development Authority (APCRDA), the respondents.
The petitioners said they had approached Supreme Court but were directed raise the matter at the appropriate forum for relief for the protection of environment and river Krishna.