Tribunal puts brakes on IL&FS power plant

Nov 12 2014

Bosco Dominique
The Times of India

3,600MW Project Planned In Cuddalore

Cuddalore: The National Green Tribunal, New Delhi has quashed the environment clearance given to Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) Tamil Nadu Power Company Limited by the Union ministry of environment and forests for setting up a 3,600-MW coal-based power plant in Chidambaram taluk of Cuddalore district.
The tribunal, headed by chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar and comprising judicial member U D Salvi and expert members D K Agrawal and Ranjan Chatterjee outlined how a cumulative environment impact assessment (CEIA) for a power project must be done and the process to be adopted by the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry while scrutinizing such studies. “…the corrigendum (to original environment clearance) dated August 14, 2012 issued by the Union ministry of environment and forest deserves to be set aside and a fresh review of the environ mental clearance on the basis of a fresh cumulative impact study as indicated needs to be ordered,” the tribunal said.

The tribunal directed IL&FS to carry out fresh rapid CEIA study. It asked the developer to gather primary information of all existing industries within 25km radius of the proposed site and compare with national standards as notified by the Union government periodically and also collect data on discharge of treated effluents from the industries, besides collecting fresh data on the industries proposed in the next five years.

The tribunal came down heavily on the EAC of the ministry for “not applying its mind” while granting clearance to the project based on the CEIA. The Union ministry gave environmental clearance to the IL&FS project on May 30, 2010 after a public hearing on February 5 that year.

Killai panchayat former president T Muruganandam and two members of SIPCOT area community environment monitors (SACEM) in October 2010 challenged the clearance at the national environment appellate authority, which was later replaced by the NGT. The NGT suspended environmental clearance pending a cumulative environment impact assessment on May 23, 2012. The ministry issued corrigendum to the original environment clearance on August 14, 2012 and the petitioners again challenged the corrigendum in August-September, 2012 arguing that CEIA done by the developer was inadequate.

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Tribunal puts brakes on IL&FS power plant
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