The Centre's green panel has deferred its decision on granting environment clearance to Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) for a Rs 336.9 crore coal washery project in Odisha in view of strong objections raised by Jharsuguda-based villagers.
New Delhi: The Centre's green panel has deferred its decision on granting environment clearance to Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) for a Rs 336.9 crore coal washery project in Odisha in view of strong objections raised by Jharsuguda-based villagers.
MCL, a subsidiary of state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL), has sought environment clearance for setting up of a coal washery of 10 million tonnes per annum capacity in an area of 39.35 hectare in Chharla village in Jharsuguda district, Odisha.
In the recent meeting, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Union Environment Ministry examined the MCL's proposal. Normally, the ministry gives final green clearance on the projects based on the recommendations of the EAC.
"After the detailed deliberation, the EAC deferred the decision on the MCL's proposal in view of strong objections of villages and in the absence of any base line data beyond core zone and prediction of emission for buffer zone," a senior government official said.
He said the public hearing conducted by the company on February 16 of this year was "incomplete" as almost everybody had left meeting in protest. Nine speakers in the meeting spoke against the coal washery project.
"Even the public hearing report submitted to the ministry also states that the participants left before the conclusion of the meeting," the official added.
Taking into account the strong objections to the proposed project, the official said: "The EAC recommended the Union Environment Ministry may take up the issue of adequacy or otherwise of the public hearing with the state government authorities."
The company has already acquired the 39.35 hectare land required for setting up of coal washery.
The proposed project aims to improve performance of power plant, reduction in particulate emission, reduction in load on railway network and reduction in handling and transportation cost of coal and solid waste.