NGT admits application against Adani Pench Power Project filed by Medha Patkar, Aradhana Bhargava & farmers
In a significant order dated 11th July, 2013, the Principal Bench of Hon’ble National Green Tribunal, New Delhi finally permitted Medha Patkar, Aradhana Bhargava, Sajje Rao and other project affected villagers to go ahead with the petition filed by them, challenging the environmental clearance granted to the Adani Pench Thermal Power Project in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh.
The application was filed with the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi, on 6th February, 2013, after the environmental clearance was granted to the 2×660 MW Imported Coal Based Adani Thermal Power Plant proposed in Chhindwara and the activists and villagers faced jail and repression, while the farmers and other affected populations were threatened with displacement, without assessing the environmental impacts. In response to which the respondents i.e. the Adani Power Limited, Ministry of Environment and Forests and the state of Madhya Pradesh objected to the application on the issue of Limitation under section 16 of the NGT Act which requires that the complaint is filed within 90 days since the cause i.e. attainment of the Environment Clearance by a Project.
Shri Sanjay Parikh and Shri Abhimanue Shrestha, counsels on behalf of the appellants pleaded the case that the required information for the said project which was asked under the Right to Information Act was given only in the month of January, 2013. The Tribunal also concluded that the respondents themselves have not been able to fully comply with the requirement of communication under the Act and the EIA notification. Taking this into view, the National Green Tribunal dismissed the issue of limitation filed by the respondents on 11th July, 2013 and condoned the delay.
The Appellants have stated that the Environmental Clearance was obtained by Adani Pench Power Ltd. In October, 2012, through falsification, concealment and misrepresentation of facts and information. Further, the Ministry has overlooked the blatant violations of the EIA Notification, 2006 at nearly every stage of the Environmental Clearance process by the various respondents. Land for a thermal power plant was acquired almost 25 years ago by the then Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board (MPSEB), which was later illegally transferred to Adani Power Limited, however the project was not started and the physical possession remained with the farmers, who had been tilling the same till the time they were forcefully displaced by the company, claiming that there is no issue of rehabilitation involved. Construction activity of the project commenced as early as in March, 2010, prior to grant of environmental clearance and although the commencement of the construction was brought to the notice of the state and Central authorities, no action was taken against them.
The bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, along with Justice U.D. Salve and other members agreed to hear the petition on merits on 14th August, 2013. A copy of the judgment is enclosed.
Madhuresh Kumar Meera Balram Verma
(National Alliance of People’s Movements) (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Chhindwada)
Contact: 09212587159 / 09179148973
National Alliance of People’s Movements
National Office : 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014
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