New Delhi: Laws were flouted and sidestepped by those wielding power in the massive coal scam which took the country by storm. Zee News found a blatant example of this when it visited Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh where it has been alleged that the administration overlooked the concerns of the local population to allot coal block to the Jindal Steel and Power Limited.
When Zee News visited ground zero it found out that the people of Khamiyara village were against the allocation of coal block to JSPL. As per the villagers, JSPL’s project had to be given an environmental clearance. However, the police lathi-charged the protestors and chased them away.
Despite the protest by villagers, Chhattisgarh Environment Conservation Board (CECB) gave its nod for Gare coal mining project. A copy of the same along with the pictures of locals protesting was sent to the environmental ministry at the Centre. The concerned officers reportedly did look into the matter but gave a go ahead to the Gare plan nonetheless.
The protestors then appealed to the National Green Tribunal. The Tribunal reviewed all the material present before it and examined the public hearing video of 05 January 2008. And on 20 April this year said, “The public hearing was a farce. The process which should have been followed was overlooked.”
The tribunal then directed the state government to conduct another public hearing which has not taken place till date. Meanwhile, JSPL’s Gare coal mining project was given the environmental clearance.
Clearing its stand on the GARE-PELMA, JSPL said, "Fresh Terms of Reference (TOR) has been issued by MOEF on 19.10.2012 for preparing fresh EIA/EMP and for holding fresh public hearing. It may take 5-6 months time to hold the public hearing. We have no plans to go in appeal against the NGT order in Supreme Court."