Tribunal to hear petition against Upper Bhadra project

The High Court on Monday disposed of a petition against the ongoing Upper Bhadra project to supply water to Kolar and Tumkur districts.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice B V Nagarathna directed that the petition by Bharatiya Kisan Sangh and others be transferred to the National Green tribunal (NGT).

The court, however, continued the stay on work in the reserve forest areas under the project and observed, “This being a matter pertaining to environment and considering the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, this court cannot interfere in the matter.”

During the hearing, when the government counsel argued against the petition saying the prayer is to include Tarikere in Chikkmagalur district under the project and not a PIL, the petitioners’ counsel Jeyna Kothari said that it is not about water. But the prayer is to conserve the forest and submitted that they would not object to the petition’s transfer to the tribunal. The Bench accepted the plea and held that the interim stay would continue as per the High Court order in February 2013 until the Ministry of Environment and Forests clears it.  The petitioners had submitted that the construction under the project began on about 230 acres of forest, which is a part of the Bhadra tiger reserve.

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