The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal on Friday ordered a joint inspection of the Yettinahole water diversion project area to ascertain the number of trees felled for the project even as it ordered a continuation of stay against tree-felling.
All matters challenging the project came up for hearing before the Bench on Friday, with chairman Swatanter Kumar ordering that a senior officer from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Regional Office, Bengaluru, should take the applicants to the project area, according to K.N. Somashekar, one of the applicants.
Advocate for Mr. Somashekar, Prince Isac, had informed the tribunal that more than 50,000 trees were felled for the project.
When the Bench sought a response from the government, its counsel reportedly said only 40 had been felled and 500 saplings were planted as compensatory afforestation. Mr. Isac disputed this and pointed out that Advocate Generalin had earlier stated that 2,700 trees had been felled.
When the government counsel submitted that 6,000 trees have been felled and 3,000 saplings were planted, the Bench ordered a joint inspection on January 3 and 4, Mr. Somashekar said.
The MoEFCC should submit a report to the tribunal thereafter for consideration on January 16, it said.