Essar, Hindalco, Reliance, NTPC under green scanner

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2014, 09:02am hrs
Essar Group, Hindalco, Reliance Power and NTPC may come under the radar of a panel constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which will determine if the coal and thermal projects run by these companies in the Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are following the prescribed emissions parameters.

The panel will comprise a member each from the ministries of environment and heavy industries, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) and Central Pollution Control Board.

On Wednesday, the green tribunal also directed the panel to assess the cumulative impact of the emissions on the environment and health of the residents in the two districts, where a host of coal mines and thermal plants are being operated by the companies. Reliance Powers Sasan UMPP with a capacity of 4,000 MW is also situated in the Singrauli district.

In the entire Singrauli region (Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh) a number of thermal power plants are running, such as NTPC-Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station, Hindalco Industries Power Division Renusagar, Kanoria Chemicals and Industries (Power Division) Renukoot, NTPC Rihand Nagar, NTPC Shakti Nagar, Obra Thermal Power Station Unit-A and Unit-B, Anpara Thermal Power Station- A, B and C, Hindalco Industries Limited Renukoot, Hi-Tech Carbon Renukoot, Aditya Birla Chemicals Industries, Dalla Cement Dalla, Dalla Cement (Bhalua, Jugal and Padarach Mines), Orient Micro Abrasives Limited, Renukoot and creating acute pollution and destroyed and continuously destroying the environment in the area which has been also spread in the Singrauli region, the petition filed by Ashwani Kumar Dubey states.

The tribunal, for now, has directed the panel to determine if the prescribed parameters regarding disposal of fly ash, coal transportation and other activities are being followed or not. The panel has further been directed that in case it finds that the companies have failed to adhere to the prescribed norms leading to health problems of local residents, then it can direct remedial measures as well.

The matter has been listed for further hearing on March 3.

Alleging that pollution and serious ailments are being caused due to coal mining as well as emissions of thermal power stations there, the petition has opposed grant of sanction for any new project or for expansion of existing units till an action plan for improving environmental quality of the areas is implemented.

The tribunal on Wednesday constituted the panel after Dubey showed the bench pictures of coal being transported in open trucks to the thermal power plants, fly ash being dumped in huge open mounds as well as in the Rihand Dam and alleged that the large scale air and water pollution in the region has adversely affected the health of the people there apart from the environment.

Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, appearing for Hindalco Industries, contended that the company's trucks were not being used for transporting coal, adding that the route used by the unit is different from the one cited by the petitioner.

He also contended that Hindalco's unit in the area is a non-polluting one.

Meanwhile, MPPCB submitted before NGT that there are only four units in Madhya Pradesh and the rest are in Uttar Pradesh. It also said that it will file a status report within a week.