The environment ministry has scrapped a proposal for a mega power plant in Chhattisgarh after finding that the construction of the plant started without its mandatory environment clearance.
In what appears to be gross irregularity, Jindal Power Limited started work on the 2,400 MW coal-based power plant not at the original site but where a 1,000 MW power plant is already functioning.
The ministry had given environment clearance to the 1,000 MW plant over an area of 62 hectares in June 2009.
Jindal Power Limited had submitted a plan to construct the power plant over 1,041 hectares of land with adequate facility for housing and treating fly ash. The ministry in March 2009 approved terms of reference for getting environment clearance for a proposal in Raigarh district.
As per the norms, first the terms of reference are approved, after which the project proponent has to prepare an environment impact assessment report and get public consultation on the report done, before the ministry considers the proposal for giving clearance.
But instead of submitting an environment impact assessment report, the project proponent allegedly started construction work at an alternate site.
“Constructing a plant in just 62 hectares is not possible,” said PL Ahujarai, a scientist with the ministry, in a letter to Jindal Power. The letter was written this week after a team of ministry officials found the allegations of construction by local NGOs and civil society to be true.
“Further, the ministry has not been informed of the change in location of the plant.”
Terming starting construction work at some other site as gross irregularity, the ministry has also withdrawn the terms of reference for the project, saying that so much land was not available at the specific site for construction of the project.
“It is found that the proposal for setting up the 2,400 MW power plant is premature as there is no area where the proposed plant can be set up,” the letter read.
Jindal Power has been asked to submit a fresh proposal as per the Environment Impact Assessment norms of 2006.