The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Thursday issued a notice to Madhya Pradesh principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF), directing him to take immediate steps to undertake a study on the feasibility of carrying out afforestation along the ash dykes at power plants at Sarni in Betul district and at Birsinghpur in Umaria district.
The NGT has asked the PCCF to ensure compliance with the directive by the next date of hearing, which is scheduled on February 16.
The green tribunal has also directed the MP power generation company limited (MPPGCL) to file an affidavit stating if it would be able to comply with the directions of the state pollution control board (MPPCB) in connection with establishment of new ash pond for production units 6 and 9, failing which the tribunal would issue an order to stop these units from generating electricity.
In March last year, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had stated in a letter that the capacity of the existing ash pond would be exhausted in the next two months.
While hearing a petition pertaining to pollution from coal-based power plants, the tribunal noted that on December 9, it had asked divisional forest officers (DFO) of Betul and Umaria to carry out a feasibility study to check if afforestation work could be carried out along the ash dykes at the power plants. The tribunal was informed that MP power generation company limited (MPPGCL) had written to the DFOs, but none of them had responded.
Consequently, the NGT on Thursday directed the PCCF to ensure action on the letters sent to the DFO Betul and Umaria by the next date of hearing.