CIC order raises green queries over Chitradurga techno hub

CIC order raises green queries over Chitradurga techno hub

Defence and space behemoths BARC-DRDO and Isro are under pressure after being “directed to provide copies of their applications for environmental clearances for the Challakere complex and release copies of the clearances, if obtained.

The onus is on the MoEF to clarify the accuracy of their claims.
The Central Information Commission (CIC) has called upon the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the State government to make public information on the proposed complex at Challakere in Chitradurga district.

The Central defence and space industries are particularly under pressure because they have large parcels of land – over 3,300 acres collectively, apart from DRDO, which has 4,500 acres.
“The BARC has been directed to open its fences to allow access to villagers and to demonstrate along with the IISc that they have developed a joint action plan to enable free movement of villagers through their allotted premises.

The Commission has directed Isro to allow appellants access to verify whether water sources are accessible to villagers and to report back to it,” the Environment Support Group (ESG) has said.

So far, there is not too much progress at Challakere by these institutions. Several NGOs and activists believe there is still a chance to get the projects cancelled permanently.

Both the BARC and Isro projects have implications of safety.

Awaiting  order
The institutions are awaiting the order from the Central Information Commission to respond. A senior Isro official told Deccan Herald: “Earlier, a reference was made to the Isro land being part of an encroached lake and now this. We haven’t received any order yet. We will respond when it comes.”

The Ministry of Environment and Forest  and the State government will have to show what efforts they have made to save the bird - Great Indian Bustard - from extinction and what efforts are underway in protecting the ecologically sensitive Amrit Mahal Kaval grasslands.
The “MoEF and Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) are directed to demonstrate how the clearances accorded have “verifiable and measurable conditions” as directed by the Green Tribunal.

The Ministry of Environment and Forest  has been directed to demonstrate compliance with the Tribunal’s decision to revisit the exemption from environmental clearance to Sagitaur and other mega-solar parks,” says ESG.

The IISc and the Karnataka State Small Scale Industries Development Corporation have been directed to prove their compliance with the Tribunal’s order that right to water and cultural and livelihood access to Kavals should be restored.

*Orders MoEF, State to give info on complex coming up at Challakere
*Isro, DRDO-BARC directed to produce copies of clearances

Who plans what?
Nearly 4,500 acres of Amrit Mahal Kaval grasslands have been diverted for manufacture and testing of weaponised drones by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) has planned a special material (uranium) enrichment facility to supply nuclear fuel to reactors and weapons production on over 1,800 acres.
Indian Institute of Science (IISc) has been provided 1,500 acres to build a synchrotron.
Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has been given 600 acres to build a space applications centre.
Sagitaur, a private entity, has been provided 1,200 acres of Kaval land to build a solar park for lease rent of Rs 33 lakh
Indian Army proposes to locate a brigade here on over 10,000 acres of land that will be acquired.

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