<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a relief for the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday declined to set aside the environmental clearance (EC) for building of the new capital city Amaravati and allowed the project to go ahead, subject to set of stringent conditions for environment protection. The verdict was passed by a three-member bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar after hearing a batch of pleas that challenged the project on environmental grounds and the project’s EC. The pleas had said the Capital city would harm the fertile agricultural lands in Krishna and Guntur districts and put at peril the floodplain and wetland ecology.The green court refused to set aside the EC after it was convinced that the new Capital would not harm the floodplains and wetlands. The bench also noted that the project had reached a stage of ‘fait accompli’ and thus demolishing the project would come at a huge financial, environmental and human cost. In the conditions it stipulated, the Tribunal directed the AP government to not alter the course of the Krishna river, its flow pattern or natural storm water morphology and also restrained them from altering the pre-existing embankments. The NGT constituted two-committees, one supervisory and one for implementation to enforce these conditions.The Amaravati capital city area was planned following bifurcation of the erstwhile unified Andhra Pradesh. Under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014, Hyderabad will be the joint Capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for a period of ten years. The Capital city area is located on the border of Guntur and Krishna districts and will be spread over 217.33 square kilometers of area. It will consist of 24 revenue villages and part of Tadepalli Municipality falling in Guntur district, covering Thulluru, Manglagiri and Tadepalli mandals.The state government has notified an area of about 7068 sq. km for capital region and 122 sq. km as Andhra Pradesh capital city.In other conditions, the Tribunal said that the project proponent shall conduct a comprehensive study on hydro-geomorphology for effective management of water retention ponds, reservoirs, storm water drains and overall water conservation.It also directed the state government and concerned authorities to include rain water harvesting, use of solar energy and treated grey water for non-potable purposes as part of its building bye-laws. It has also specifically asked the state government to prepare a climate change mitigation plan to achieve carbon neutrality, as stated in the EC, within six months.The capital city’s forest cover of about 251 acres has to be preserved as its green lungs and it cannot be used for making a park or for recreational activities, the Tribunal added.The Tribunal appointed supervisory committee will comprise of officials from Union Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, officials from AP state government, scientists from National Institute of Hydrology and Indian Institute of Science among others. This committee has been directed to meet once every three months while the implementation committee will every month and submit a report to the Tribunal every six months.

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NGT refuses to set aside green clearance for Amaravati capital