Mithivirdi project: Charges fly, MoEF seeks NPCIL reply


Indian Express, 21 April 2013

Ahmedabad In a fresh twist in the row over the proposed 6000-MW Mithivirdi nuclear power project, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has sought a reply from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) following allegations that the project’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report was prepared by a non-accredited consultant and norms for environmental public hearings were flouted.

Dr P B Rastogi, scientific director in charge of nuclear power at the MoEF, has asked the NPCIL to respond to these allegations so the ministry could take “further action”.

The project, to be located near Alang Ship-Breaking Yard in Bhavnagar district, is slated to be India’s first nuclear power plant to be built with American technology, a direct result of the Indo-US nuclear deal.

It has, however, been dogged by protests by locals and environment groups. In fact, a large number of people had walked out of the environmental public hearing held for the project last month.

Rastogi’s communication to NPCIL mentioned that Vadodara-based Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti and others had made representations concerning various issues.

Earlier, the Gujarat Pollution Control Board had asked NPCIL to clarify if the consultant, Engineers India Limited (EIL), it had hired for the project’s Environment Impact Assessment was accredited as demanded by law.

Interestingly, no consultant has been accredited to assess nuclear plants in India.

Later, others alleged discrepancies in the EIA report itself, including the absence of a rehabilitation policy, necessary clearances for diversion of forest land and radiological impact studies, all of which were required as per terms of reference issued by the MoEF.

Subsequent to the public hearing, people had also sent complaints saying procedures were not followed.

 

Odisha – (MOEF) Roy Paul Committee Report Reveals More Illegalities, Exposes POSCO’s Destructive Potential


POSCO

 

At a time when our people are facing bombs, lathis and violence in order to defend their basic rights to their homes, lands and livelihoods, yet another official committee has confirmed that the POSCO project is being pushed through without a thought for the welfare of the people of the area or of this country.

 

On October 22nd 2012, the second official review committee to be constituted on the POSCO project – constituted in May 2012  (this time, on the directions of the National Green Tribunal on March 31, 2012) submitted its report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF). This report has not yet been made public but has been obtained by an Right to Information (RTI) request.

 

The POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) wishes to bring the following key points from the report to the attention of the public in this regard:

 

·        The Odisha government and POSCO are lying when they say they have decided to reduce the project size to 2700 acres and “leave out” most of the private and forest lands in the villages of Dhinkia and Govindpur. Till date their plant layout lists the plant’s substation, water supply facilities, main office for phase I, two gates, etc. in the land that they supposedly do not want. The committee has asked POSCO to submit a revised layout and also unambiguously state that this will not affect their expansion plans.

 

·        The Committee notes that – eight years after signing an MoU to start the project – the government and POSCO have yet to carry out the following basic studies:

 

‣      Assessing how much water is actually available in the area and whether this area can support such a huge plant;

 

‣      Impacts on fisheries, which support more than 20,000 people in the area;

 

‣      A plan for management of oil spills;

 

‣      Impact of dredging of material for the private port;

 

‣      Impact on marine ecology and wildlife from the plant;

 

‣      Critical long term study for captive port

 

·        The Committee also says that therefore the project needs to submit a fresh Environment Impact Assessment report for its revised layout. Hence, the entire process effectively has to start again.

 

·        The Committee has also clearly said that expansion of any project in the area (not just POSCO) should be considered only after a carrying capacity study.

 

In short, as per the findings of the Roy Paul committee, this project has never been studied properly and could – in other words – pose a serious risk to the entire area. The committee hence confirms the finding of the NGT that “a project of this magnitude particularly in partnership with a foreign country has been dealt with casually, without there being any comprehensive scientific data regarding the possible environmental impacts. No meticulous scientific study was made on each and every aspect of the matter leaving lingering and threatening environmental and ecological doubts un-answered.”

 

It is a different matter that the Roy Paul Committee has incorrectly limited its own mandate – looking only at “conditions” of the 2011 environment clearance rather than a full review as mandated in their Terms of Reference (ToR) as well as directions of the NGT. It also tries to claim that the revised EIA can be made and the process go ahead without a public hearing or a new environmental clearance – but this is simply illegal. None of this attempt to shield POSCO and their former colleagues changes the facts that the Committee reveals.

 

Three of our people have given up their lives to stop this illegal and unjust project. What the Committee report confirms is that no one – including the government that is unleashing brute force against us – has any idea how many more lives will be lost, and how much more damage caused, if this project indeed comes up. It is time that the State and Central government stopped acting on behalf of POSCO as its agent and instead take the serious social, human rights environmental and legal issues on board to reject the project in its entirety.

 

 

 

Prashant Paikaray

 

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

 

Mobile no – 09437571547

 

E- mail- prashantpaikaray@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

GPCB did not verify envt impact of Mithi Virdi, say activists


DNA,  March 2013

Activists protesting the Environmental Public Hearing (EPH) to be conducted by Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in connection with the 6,000 MW nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi in Bhavnagar district met GPCB officials on Saturday.

The officials have agreed to look into their grievances. Michael Madgaonkar of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti said that as per the judgment of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol dated May 4, 2012, of the High Court of Himachal Pradesh, GPCB is yet to verify the claims made in the project report. “However, in this case it has not bothered to cross-check the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report prepared by Engineers India Limited,” said Madgaonkar.

But, in-charge member secretary of GPCB, KC Mistry when contacted said that they had checked all the necessary documents and found them to be in order. “Nonetheless, we have decided to check the reports once again, since several activists have approached us with concerns about the environment,” said Mistry. He said that as far as canceling the EPH was concerned, it was not in the hands of the GPCB. “The GPCB does not have the authority to cancel the hearing,” reported Mistry.

Madgaonkar, meanwhile, said that if the GPCB and the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) did not pay heed to the grave concerns raised in connection with the nuclear plant, they may be forced to go to court. “If nothing is done, we are mulling legal action against both the GPCB and MoEF,” he insisted.

It should be noted that the NGO has already written several letters to the MoEF and the prime minister in this connection. They have also highlighted the lack of a detailed risk assessment and disaster management plan in the EIA report. The activists have alleged that the EIA report only mentions the need to include such a plan but does not provide a blueprint of the plan, which they consider important

 

#Karnataka -MoEF closes Gogi mines file


By Ramkrishna Badseshi & Bhimashankar Kakalwara | ENS – GULBARGA

15th February 2013

The Ministry of Environment & Forests has closed the project file relating to uranium mining plant at Gogi village in Shahpur taluk and has delisted it from the pending list of projects.

A letter by Director of Ministry of Environment & Forests Dr Saroj to the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd on December 28, 2012,   was made available to Express on Thursday. According to the letter, the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) has noted that the public hearing panel going into the setting up a mining extraction plant at Gogi was chaired by Yadgir Assistant Commissioner though he was not the competent authority. Under Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006, the deputy commissioner should chair the panel. Hence the hearing is not valid and has to be conducted afresh according to procedures prescribed in EIA Notification, 2006, it stated.

The letter further stated that since the public hearing was postponed without following procedures, the ministry has decided to close the project file. Yadgir deptuy commissioner F R Jamdar said that as far as the district was concerned, the “uranium mining chapter is closed”.

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