December 1, 2013
Times of India
CUDDALORE: The National Green Tribunal has issued notices to the department of chemicals and petrochemicals and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco) to give clarification on the status of the petroleum, chemicals and petrochemical investment region project (PCPIR) and posted the case to December 11 for further hearing.
The tribunal passed the order to issue notices to secretary in the ministry of chemical and fertilizersand managing director of Tidco after the counsel appearing for T Murugandam, former president of Killai panchayat, pleaded with the tribunal to cancel the environment clearance granted by the Union ministry of environment and forests to Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL & FS) for its 3,600MW coal-based power plant at Chidambaram in Cuddaloredistrict.
The counsel contended that though IL & FS prepared the cumulative environmental impact assessment (EIA) declaring that it had given up the PCPIR, the said project is still on and will have an additional impact on environment, life and health of the people near the project site.
IL & FS claimed that the PCPIR project was only conceived and not implemented. The ministry gave clearance to IL & FS based on EIA, which does outline the cumulative impact of the project.
Tribunal chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar sought Neelam Rathor, the counsel appearing for the ministry, to submit the details about the status of the project. Neelam, however, said that the ministry would not be in a position to answer queries relating to the project and added that the department of chemicals and petrochemicals under the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers would be in a position to answer the query.
Following this, the judge issued notices to the secretary in the ministry of chemicals and fertilizers and the managing director of Tidco seeking details about the status of the PCPIR.
During the last sitting on November 27, the tribunal slapped a penalty of Rs 25,000 on the ministry of environment and forests for the delay in appointing a counsel for the case. It remarked that it would not tolerate the lapses on the part of the ministry in this crucial case. The tribunal said it would be compelled to pass orders against the ministry. The judge passed orders to recover penalty from the salaries of all the officers concerned in the ministry.
The judge directed joint secretary (ministry of environment and forest) Surjit Singh to appear with complete records and to ensure that the matters are not required to be adjourned because of the absence of representation from the ministry in future.