`Develop mechanism for reliable environmental data`

The National Green Tribunal has directed the MoEF to develop a mechanism to have authentic data in its EIA report.

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has
directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to
develop a mechanism to have authentic data in its Environment
Impact Appraisal (EIA) reports and blacklist consultants who
furnish "cooked" data.

"In view of the infirmities (in the EIA report) noticed,
we direct MoEF to develop appropriate mechanism to check the
authenticity of environmental data reported in the EIA report
which would facilitate a more realistic environmental
appraisal of project.

"Steps should also be taken for black listing consultants
found to have reported `cooked data` or `wrong data` and for
producing sub-standard EIA report," a bench comprising Acting
Chairperson Justice A S Naidu and G K Pandey said.

The remarks were made by the bench which suspended the
environmental clearance granted for expansion of a steel and
captive power plant of Scania Steel and Power Ltd in

The MoEF was directed to "revisit" its decision of
granting clearance after conducting a public hearing at the
project site and nearby areas.

The tribunal found that data provided in the EIA report
about the company was "unreliable" and several pollution
indicators were shown even below their minimum detectable

It was hearing a plea filed by NGO Jan Chetna through
advocates Ritwick Dutta and Rahul Chaudhary contending that
the clearance was granted to the project without public
hearing as required under EIA Notification of 2006.

The Scan Group-owned Scania Steels and Power had in 2008
applied to the MoEF for expansion of the existing project for
enhancing its production of sponge iron from 66,000 TPA to
1,32,000 TPA by adding another unit.

The proposal for expansion of the plant was considered by
the MoEF and environment clearance (EC) was granted in a
letter dated November 5, 2008.

During the hearing in the case, the bench noticed that
the data in the EIA report suffered from infirmities.

The bench observed that the minimum detectable limit for
sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide as is 6 microgram per
cubic metre but the EIA report indicated them as 5.0
to 5.3 mg/m3.

"Regarding water quality data it is seen from the EIA
report that the fluoride levels are almost same in the ground
water and surface water, which appears to be unrealistic," the
bench observed.

Referring to other such infirmities the bench said that
the reflected data "casts a doubt on the reliability" of the
data produced in the EIA report.

"It appears that the EIA consultant has taken it in a
very casual way," the bench said.

The tribunal asked the MoEF to "revisit" its decision of
granting environmental clearance and conduct a public hearing
at the project site and nearby areas as per provisions of the
EIA Notification of 2006.

"Till aforesaid exercise is completed, the environmental
clearance granted on November 5, 2008, for the proposed
expansion of integrated steel plant and captive power plant at
village Kunjipatra, district Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, of Scania
Steel and Power Limited, shall remain suspended," it added.


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