HC orders status quo on Maruthi Power Gen hydel project

The High Court of Karnataka on Monday ordered status quo on the hydel power project of Maruthi Power Gen (India) Private Limited at Kagneri and Kenchankumari reserve forests of Sakaleshpur range in Hassan district.

 The order came after a spot inspection revealed that the company had completed only 20 per cent of the work against its claim to have completed 70 per cent of the work.

On  April, 18, 2011, the Court had allowed the continuation of work on the project after the company claimed that it had completed 70 per cent of the work. At that point, the Court had directed status quo on the projects being executed by seven other companies.

Prashant Yavagal had approached the High Court expressing concern over the impact of the project on the local ecology. In Maruthi Power’s case, the petitioner had contended that the company had violated norms which say that if the forestland diversion involves more than five hectares (ha), the proposal has to be sent to the Union government with a recommendation from the State Advisory Group. If the power project is above 25MW, it needs a mandatory public hearing and Environment Impact Assessment as per the Environment Protection Act, 1986.

The State Advisory Group found that in order to bypass the mandatory guidelines, the company had split the project into two — spread over 4.18 ha and 4.20 ha at Yedakumari village. The project was divided into 18.9 MW and 19 MW capacity so as to keep the capacity under 25 MW, the petitioner alleged in his public interest litigation.

Time granted

The High Court has granted two weeks’ time to the petitioner to translate the documents from Kannada to English, in the matter pertaining to alleged bigamy of former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy.

Shashidhar Belagumba had filed a petition seeking disqualification of Kumaraswamy as a Lok Sabha member for marrying Radhika, while he was legally wedded to Anitha, his wife. The petitioner had referred to Radhika’s admission about her marriage  in the press and its confirmation by Kumaraswamy. 

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