The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday reserved its order on the appeal against the environmental clearance given to Naveen Jindal’s steel and power plant in Chhattisgarh.
The appeal filed by NGO Adivasi Kisan Mazdoor Kisan Ekta Sanghatan and Jan Chetna had alleged that there were serious environmental flaws and the public hearing conducted in 2010 was an eyewash and repeated moves by JSPL to increase the land acquired for the each power unit is bad in law.
Senior advocate Raj Panjwani appearing on behalf of the NGO told the bench of justice AS Naidu and expert member Devendra Kumar Agarwal, “All construction work started at this project was much before they got due clearance from the ministry of environment concerned and all promises JSPL made for the future are always taken for granted.”
Citing the example of how the land demand of JSPL increased with every unit, Panjwani told the bench, “First they needed 614 hectares for 1000MW and then 1041 hectares for 2400MW. It seems that there are no norms for acquiring the land for JSPL.”
Taking note of the submissions made by Panjwani, the bench also questioned JSPL as to on what grounds land acquiring system changes from one project to other and remarked “How optimisation is taking place?”
On this senior advocate Pinaki Misra appearing for JSPL said, “We are adhering to all environmental rules and regulations and if still the tribunal thinks that we are flouting any rules, then we at our own cost is ready to get an environment assessment done.”
To a query by the bench on procurement of water for running the plant, Misra said, “We are currently fulfilling our needs from the Mahanadi river and is soon to laid down pipes over there for which we have filed an application in the environment ministry for due clearance.”
“You are already operating 2 units at the plant and still no permission has been taken in advance from the ministry. Are you speculating that you will get permission for what all you have been doing,” the bench remarked asking it to adhere to rules and regulations strictly.
The NGT has also directed all parties to file the written submissions if any by November 20.