SC notice to Centre over Sterlite project
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on Orissa Mining Corporation's (OMC) petition challenging the revocation of the environment clearance for a Sterlite bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri hills of the state.delhi Updated: Aug 02, 2011 00:54 IST
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on Orissa Mining Corporation's (OMC) petition challenging the revocation of the environment clearance for a Sterlite bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri hills of the state.
A bench of justice RV Raveendran and justice Gyan Sudha Misra directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to file its response within a week.
Senior advocate KK Venugopal, appearing for the OMC, said the former minister of state for MoEF passed an order withdrawing the environmental clearance a day before demitting his office. The counsel contended no mandatory notice was given for withdrawal.
The forest clearance is aimed at ensuring that the project does not lead to depletion of green cover in the area.
Venugopal submitted that the minister withdrew the environment clearance for the project despite knowing that the matter was sub judice for the last three months.
The court, meanwhile, also allowed Prafful Samanta, on whose plea the MoEF had taken the action, to file an application to be a party in the matter.
The apex court had on April 21 issued notices to the Orissa government and the environment ministry on a petition challenging the cancellation of forest clearance for the bauxite project in the state.
The OMC had said as per the agreement, Sterlite had to pay R55 crore to the wildlife fund and R10 crore annually, or 5% of its annual profits, whichever was higher, for the development of the area.
Sterlite is the Indian arm of UK-based Vedanta Resources. MoEF had given in principle approval to the project in 2007.