NGT clears hurdles for construction of new Andhra capital

Clearing the hurdles in the construction of Andhra Pradesh's new state capital Amaravati, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday refused to set aside the environmental clearance.

It permitted the state government to go ahead with the work on the new capital, while complying with the stipulations laid down by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The new capital of Andhra Pradesh is coming up on the southern banks of the Krishna river in Guntur district.

Several persons had filed petitions in the NGT against the environmental clearance given to the project on the grounds that it would cause damage to environment.

The green panel, however, said that the project falls under the Category B of the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 and imposition of additional conditions in the environmental clearance were necessary.

It formed two committees to have requisite regulatory control over the performance of the project proponent.

A bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, asked the project proponent to conduct a comprehensive study on hydro-geomorphology of the area with a view to effectively plan water retention ponds and reservoirs, storm water drains and their interconnectivity.

The tribunal also directed the project proponent to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 5 crore and said it would be liable to be encashed if any conditions of the clearance was violated.

The judgement came on a plea filed by activist P. Srimannarayan, E.A.S. Sarma and others which claimed Amravati was a flood-prone area and the state government had not considered the ecological and environmental aspects of the project.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu hailed the judgement, saying it removed all obstacles in the construction of Amaravati. He reiterated that his government is committed to build the new state capital which every citizen will be proud of.

Naidu attended the second meeting of the Joint Implementation Steering Committee with with Singapore's Minister of Trade and Industry S. Iswaran here on Friday.

They discussed Singapore's involvement in the development of Amaravati, solid waste management projects, district cooling systems and skill development programmes.

Naidu told the meeting that the capital city will not become a concrete jungle, which exploits natural resources. He said that Amaravati will be a dynamic city, equipped with modern technology.

"1,500 electric vehicles will be introduced soon, and will be promoted extensively. The city will be planned in such a way that it should not take more than 30 minutes to travel to any part. The public transport system will also be a primary backbone, making it the most liveable city," he said.


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