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Mekedatu Dam : Tamil Nadu Govt Moves Supreme Court Challenging NGT Order Closing Proceedings

Shruti Kakkar
11 Aug 2021 12:59 PM GMT
Mekedatu Dam : Tamil Nadu Govt Moves Supreme Court Challenging NGT Order Closing Proceedings
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The State of Tamil Nadu has approached the Supreme Court challenging the National Green Tribunal's order dated June 17, 2021 of closing the proceedings in a plea to set up a committee on Karnataka's move to go ahead with the construction of the Mekedatu dam in Cauvery river with an estimated cost of Rs 5912 crores.With an attempt to set aside the NGT's order, the plea argues that...

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The State of Tamil Nadu has approached the Supreme Court challenging the National Green Tribunal's order dated June 17, 2021 of closing the proceedings in a plea to set up a committee on Karnataka's move to go ahead with the construction of the Mekedatu dam in Cauvery river with an estimated cost of Rs 5912 crores.

With an attempt to set aside the NGT's order, the plea argues that the Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal without considering the scope and ambit of Rule 22 National Green Tribunal (Practice & Procedure) Rules, 2011 (Rules, 2011) and without affording an opportunity to the State to file a reply, erroneously disposed the Review Application and also closed the matter initiated by South Bench of NGT.

"Hon'ble Tribunal failed to consider the environmental damage likely to be caused by the continuation of the construction works which involves a large extent of Reserve Forests and Wildlife Sanctuaries," an excerpt from the plea says.


"9. We have given due consideration to the rival submissions. We find merit in the submission of learned AG for the State of Karnataka that the media report does not mention that the issue of statutory environmental clearances is already pending consideration before the concerned statutory authorities. Even the very same media report has been mentioned by the State of Tamil Nadu Government in its submission before the Ministry of Jal Shakti vide letter dated 27.4.2021 even before the taking of cognizance by this Tribunal. Further, the same issue has also been raised by the State of Tamil Nadu before the Hon'ble Supreme Court. Thus, there is no need for this Tribunal to continue the suo moto proceedings," NGT's impugned order stated.

The State in its plea has averred that the NGT Principal Bench proceeded on an erroneous assumption that in the light of pendency of Miscellaneous Application, nothing survived and thereafter failed to consider that the pending the Application pending adjudication related to the challenge to the preparation of Detailed Project Report for Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir Cum Drinking Water Project, while, the issue raised in the Original Application was with regard to taking up road laying work without taking any Forest and Environment Clearances under the Forest Conservation Act, 2003 and Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and the impact on the nearby Reserve Forests and Wildlife Sanctuaries.

In its plea, State Government has vehemently argued that the Principal Bench instead of remanding the matter to NGT South Bench, proceeded to take up the Application for review without recording any reason for taking up the same before the Principal Bench at Delhi.

"Hon'ble Tribunal failed to consider that prior environmental clearance is mandatory for projects under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, and by the State of Karnataka's own admission, the project has not received the requisite clearances," plea also states.

It has further been contended that the impugned order is without jurisdiction and contrary to the express mandate of the Act and Rules 2011, and that it ought not to have interfered with the order dated May 21, 2021 and in any event, ought to have afforded an opportunity to the Tamil Nadu State Government and directed the matter to be placed before Southern Bench of NGT which was in seizure of the matter.

The plea has been drawn by Advocate G Umapathy, settled by Advocate General R Shanmugasundaram and filed by AOR D Kumanan

Case Title: The Chief Secretary to Govt of Tamil Nadu v. State of Karnataka

Click Here To Read/Download The Petition


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