Report on Purushothapatnam Lift Irrigation Scheme, East Godavari District, Andhra Pradesh, 28/04/2020

Compliance report of the Committee in the matter of O.A. No. 175/2018 (Jammula Chhoudaraiah & Others Vs Union of India & Others) in compliance of the National Green Tribunal order of February 20, 2020. The report was filed before the NGT on April 28, 2020.

The issue for consideration is the legality of Purushothapatnam Lift Irrigation Scheme (PLIS) undertaken by the state of Andhra Pradesh for drawl and lifting of water from river Godavari near Purushothapatnam village in Seethanagaram (M), East Godavari district without obtaining EC as per the procedure laid down in the EIA Notification 2006.

The NGT in its order of February 20, 2020 said that since the Purushothapatnam Lift Irrigation Scheme was using the infrastructure of Polavaram Project Scheme, without seeking amendment of the EC granted for the said project, such activities are not permissible without appropriate amendment to the EC, granted for Polavaram Project Scheme or taking independent EC, as may be found necessary. To determine whether independent EC is required or amendment of existing EC is to be taken or what is permissible course of action, the NGT directed the constitution of a Committee.

The Committee was asked to consider the social aspects, apart from environmental aspects. A meeting of the Committee was held on March 5, 2020 under the Chairmanship of Dr. S. K. Jain, Chairman EAC of River Valley Projects in the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change.

Major outcome/observations of the meeting are as follows:

1. The present set up is not only for drinking and industrial use but also for use of irrigation of the existing ayacut. Therefore, the Committee felt that since there is an irrigation component, environmental clearance for the scheme should be obtained as per the EIA Notification, 2006.

2. Water balance/use is to be provided at each stage to clarify how much should be used for different purposes.

3. The left main canal of Polavaram Project is supposed to receive water from the Polavaram reservoir. But now the PLIS is transporting water through LMC to Yeleru reservoir for which NOC needs to be obtained from the Polavaram Project authorities.

4. Consent to Establish and Consent to Operate for the present lift scheme should be obtained.

5. Necessary permission/clearance needs to be obtained from Central Water Commission.

6. When the project proponent will come to seek the EC, Social Impact Assessment should be dealt with during the appraisal process as per the guidelines of EIA Notification, 2006.

Note: The report was uploaded to the NGT site on July 2, 2020