Green panel seeks Jindal Power reply on violations

Green panel seeks Jindal Power reply on violations

New Delhi: Jindal Power Ltd will have to wait further to go ahead with its plans of setting up a 2,400 MW thermal power plant in Chhattisgarh with a Central green panel seeking its reply on green violations at the site and objections raised by locals.

A part of Jindal Group’s steel and power empire owned by congress MP and industrialist Naveen Jindal, JPL had to halt work at the Rs13,000 crore project in Raigarh after the environment ministry in June withdrew terms of reference (ToRs) citing violation of green norms.

The private producer is understood to have gone ahead with the construction of the plant as well reducing the project size without taking any of the requisite environmental clearances at the site.

As per the ToRs awarded in March, 2009, by the environment ministry, the total area earmarked for the project was 1041 hectares, of which 350 hectares for the main plant area, 491 ha for ash dyke area, 100 ha for water reservoir and 100 ha for the staff colony.

In September, the JPL in a review meeting of the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry maintained that after the optimisation of project area, the main plant area will be 115 ha, area for ash dyke will be 241 ha instead of 491 ha while there will be no staff colony.

But this has not gone down well with a sub-committee set up by the EAC recently which was set up to look into impact of a large number of power plants being set up in Korba, Bilaspur, Raigarh and Jangir-Champa besides the steel plant and mining activities in these areas.

The panel led by environmentalist CR Babu has asked the project proponent whether the area for the main plant area reduced from 350 hectares to 115 hectares for 2,400 MW power plant was sufficient.

The panel noted that locals have been opposing the project alleging fake documents were submitted to get the clearance to the project which would have adverse impact on nearby crop and fertility.

It also noted that the layout for 2,400 MW power plant does not have provision for fabrication and storage area and the coal handling area will be near the steel plant at a distance of 30 km from the power plant and asked the JPL to furnish details regarding area required for the purpose and status of land acquisition.

It also took dim view of the fact that the layout of 1000 MW plant had been changed while the area meant for green belt has been encroached upon by reducing it from 122 ha to 85 ha due to proposed facilities for 2400 MW Phase-II.

As a result, the condition regarding 33 % of plant area for the green belt in case of 1,000 MW plant has not been complied, the sub-committee noted.

It has now sought details on the action taken for implementation of plan for conservation of wildlife as well a detailed response to the issues raised during the public hearing and number of representations received regarding the project.