New Delhi, May 2 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has refused to review its order quashing the environment clearance (EC) granted to a 1320 MW coal-based thermal power plant in the Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh.
“After hearing the parties and perusing the records before us, we are of the considered view that the grounds raised in the present applications for review have no merit and fall within the appellate jurisdiction in contradistinction to review jurisdiction,” a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar said.
Terming that the entire process of granting the green nod as “tainted”, the NGT had in December last year restrained project proponent Welspun Energy (UP) Pvt Ltd from carrying out any development work at the project site and directed it to restore the area, a fertile agricultural land surrounded by a reserved forest, to its original condition.
The green panel, however, granted liberty to the project proponent to approach the Environment Ministry or “any other competent authority” for processing of the applications for grant of EC after rectifying the defects and deficiencies pointed out in its judgment.
“However, the authorities concerned are at liberty to process the same in accordance with law while strictly adhering to the content of the judgment,” the tribunal said.
In a detailed judgement, the NGT had said the videography of the public hearing organised for the grant of EC had shown the presence of gun-toting men among the people attending it, which reflected that the meet was not conducted in a free and fair manner.
It had said the Environment Clearance Regulations laid down a chain of “interconnected” processes to make a complete mechanism required to assess the potential impact of the project on the environment.
The judgement was passed on a plea filed by environmental activists Debadityo Sinha, Shiv Kumar Upadhyay and Mukesh Kumar alleging that Welspun Energy had suppressed facts to obtain EC and the provisions of the 2006 EIA Notification had been violated.
Finding fault with the public consultation conducted for grant of EC, the bench had noted that the videography had revealed the presence of gun-toting men among those attending the meet.
“Arms like guns are bound to strike fear in the hearts of men around and dominate their free will. It is, therefore, difficult to call this public hearing as a free and fairly conducted public hearing,” the bench, also comprising Expert Member Ranjan Chatterjee, had aid.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.