Chennai, 24 May 2012: In a far-reaching order, the National Green Tribunal suspended the environmental clearance given to IL&FSs 3600 MW coal-fired power plant in Cuddalore district, and ordered the Environment Ministry to conduct a study to assess the carrying capacity of Cuddalore region considering the existing industries and proposed industrialisation. The NGT also directed the Environment Ministry and State Pollution Control Boards to publish all relevant documents relating to grant of clearance and monitoring of clearance and consent conditions on the website, and asked project proponents to periodically publish and update reports stating the status of their compliance to conditions issued under their various environmental licenses.
The appeal, seeking quashing of the Environmental Clearance granted to IL&FS, was filed by T. Murugandam, former president of Killai panchayat, and two members of the SIPCOT Area Community Environmental Monitors. “We feel vindicated, particularly by NGTs direction to conduct a carrying capacity study, as such a study was recommended by the Asian Development Bank in 1994 and by NEERI in 1998 considering the already polluted state of the region,” said S. Ramanathan, a SACEM member who filed the appeal. Villagers in the Cuddalore region have resisted industrialisation after seeing its effects on water, agriculture, air and health in and around SIPCOT Cuddalore.
Cuddalore activists say that the order relating to carrying capacity has tremendous value as a precedence, as such a study would be warranted in any place that is already industrialized or is proposed to be industrialized. Cuddalore is slotted for intensive industrialisation, with several power plants, associated captive jetties, desalination plants and a massive refinery, all of which are to be located between SIPCOT Cuddalore and Pichavaram mangroves.
Activists also welcomed the order directing the State boards and Environment Ministry to publish details about licenses granted, the conditions and the reports of compliance monitoring. They said that this would lead to greater transparency, and will enhance the ability of communities to monitor and report violations.
Advocates Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Choudhary appeared for the applicants. The public hearing for the IL&FS project was held on 5 February 2010 and the Environmental Clearance was granted on 30 May 2010. The NGT order can be downloaded from the following site:
For more details contact:
Shweta Narayan – +91 80560 24315