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Will not damage environment near river Krishna: AP govt to NGT

The Andhra Pradesh government has assured the National Green Tribunal that it will not take any action which would damage the environment near the floodplains on the banks of river Krishna for construction of a new state capital.

“Andhra Pradesh is equally concerned about protection of the environment and will not take any such action that would ruin the environment in the area and as such state shall abide by all statutory requirements which are necessary to protect the environment,” the state government told a bench headed by Justice U D Salvi.

The submissions were made by the AP government during the hearing on a plea seeking an immediate stay on acquisition of floodplains and wetlands between Vijaywada and Guntur City on the banks of Krishna.

During the hearing, advocate Sravan Kumar, appearing for Pandalaneni Srimannarayan and others, said the floodplains of Krishna and adjoining fertile agricultural lands, along with the wetlands, are being exposed to the threat of getting ruined as a result of developmental activity.

The bench, however, said, “We believe that there is no necessity at this stage to intervene and pass any interim order till such time the replies are filed by respondents”.

The green panel also granted two weeks time to the state and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to file its reply in the case while posting the matter for next hearing on August 28.

Srimannarayan had said the government had proposed large- scale urbanization and infrastructure development on areas which comprise floodplains, wetlands and fertile agricultural land, which were primarily paddy fields.

“In order to procure these lands, the state government has adopted land pooling scheme which is in complete violation of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and the directions of the Supreme Court, various high courts and the National Green Tribunal,” the petition had said.

The state government has issued notification identifying the location of the capital between Vijaywada and Guntur cities on the banks of Krishna and notified an area of about 7,068 sq kms for capital region and 122 sq kms as Andhra Pradesh capital city area.