NEAA quashes environment clearnace to cement plant in HP

In a significant decision, the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) has quashed the environmental clearance granted to the Integrated Cement project of Lafarge India at Karsog in Mandi district of Himachal.

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2010, 23:06 PM IST

Shimla: In a significant decision, the
National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) has quashed
the environmental clearance granted to the Integrated Cement
project of Lafarge India at Karsog in Mandi district of
Himachal Pradesh.

It is for the first time in Himachal Pradesh that the
environment clearance granted to any project has been annulled
by NEAA in a decision which could have an impact on several
projects in environmentally sensitive areas.

The judgement passed by the authority on August 30 and
released here by joint action committee of representatives of
the affected panchayats and nine local community organisations
was based on the observations of the sole member of the
authority that visited the area on June 23 this year to assess
the feasibly of the environment clearance given to the project
on June 8, 2009 by the Union Environment ministry.

The order said that "the dispossession, impoverishment
and trauma attached to displacement have neither been captured
by the Environment Impact Assessment nor appreciated by the
Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) or the state government",
implying that local economy stands to be destroyed by the
project.

The order further noted that the Majathal Wildlife
Sanctuary was less than 5 km from the project site and the
project could possibly impact the wildlife.

The judgement also notes that the authority after viewing
the Compact Disk (CD) of the public hearing observed that the
concluding recommendations of the ADM in the minutes of the
meeting were uncalled for.

"The authority is convinced that on the environmental
and social considerations it is neither desirable to mine the
Telehan village nor put up cement plant at Ghanger. Both the
EAC and the ministry had not correctly assessed the impact of
the project on land, water and air and failed to appreciate
its effects on the livelihood of the people of the area", the
judgement stated.

The Environment Clearance to the project was challenged
by two separate petitioners Pratap Singh Thakur and Ganga
Singh Thakur, both residents of affected villages, on the
grounds that the negative socio economic and environmental
impacts of the project had been completely overlooked in the
Environment Impact Assessment Report submitted by the company.

PTI