Amaravati clears NGT hurdle

Clearing the final hurdle for construction of Andhra Pradesh's new capital Amaravati, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday quashed objections raised by environmental activists.

The NGT directed the government to set up an implementation committee and a supervisory committee. The supervisory committee  will closely monitor  adherence   to  the NGT's guidelines.  

The  green body delivered its judgment in favour of the state government in response to a petition filed by former bureaucrat E A S Sarma and a few environmentalists opposing the destruction of lush green fields and flora and fauna on the banks of the river.

Activists filed petitions before the NGT in 2015 challenging the proposal to build Amaravati. They challenged the conditional clearances given by the environment ministry.

The ministry had laid down 192 conditions for protection of the environment. The NGT heard the arguments for about 22 months. The green body examined about 10,000 pages of documents in favour and against the proposed capital.

The petitioners argued that the proposed site for Amaravati  faces  an inundation  threat by the Kondavagu stream.    

According to them, a capital close to a river makes it vulnerable to frequent floods. They urged the NGT to take into consideration the fact that land tracts on the banks of the river Krishna are highly fertile and converting them into an urban conglomerate will damage the ecosystem.

The state government, however, argued that the reservoirs would be built to reduce the flood impact in Kondaveeti Vagu.

It also assured that a new construction technology will be used to lay the foundation for all buildings to withstand water logging. The state has decided to allocate a certain area for agriculture on the fringes of the capital.

Coinciding with the NGT's clearance, a team from Singapore government headed by Minister Easwaran visited Amaravati on Friday for further discussions on the constructions of Amaravati.

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