`Develop mechanism for reliable environmental data`
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 13:04
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 Chhattisgarh.

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 limit.

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.


First Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012, 13:04

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