The High Court of Karnataka today granted an interim stay in a petition filed against the Upper Bhadra Project – a project touted to replenish agricultural lands in Chitradurga and Kolar districts of Karnataka, by providing farmers with a steady source of irrigation.
The petition was filed in public interest on behalf of the farmers and other residents of Tarikere and Kadur Taluks of Chikkamangalur district, who were aggrieved by the extensive environmental and ecological damage that would result as a consequence of implementing the Upper Bhadra Project. CLPR is involved with the litigation, on behalf of the farmer petitioners of Tarikere and Kadur Taluks.
Involving deep excavation work through reserve forest areas, the project commenced and was continuing without the acquisition of the necessary clearances from the Central Government as required under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and the National Wildlife Board. In addition to cutting through reserved forest area, the Project site lies at a distance of 2.5 kms from the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, which is also a recognized tiger reserve.
Acknowledging the ecological and high economic costs of the project, the High Court today granted the petitioners their request for an interim stay on the project, thereby preventing any further work on the project site till the Project obtained the requisite clearances and permissions to continue work on forest lands for non-forest purposes.