Three months after its regional office cited grave violation of rules, the environment ministry has finally woken up and got construction of a cement plant by Jai Prakash group in Uttar Pradesh stopped citing violation of the Forest Conservation Act and the Supreme Court orders.
The plant is close to Son river and Kaimur Wildlife Sanctuary in the Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts of UP and covers an area of about 500 sq km as the core area of the sanctuary, with an additional 146.85 sq km area as reserve forest. Kaimur is believed to one of the last places to have supported the now extinct Asiatic cheetah.
It is a second such violation this year with the ministry revoking environment clearance of Nirma’s cement plant in Gujarat citing green norm violation.
The company Jai Prakash Associates Limited was constructing 2.5 million tones per annum cement plant in naxal affected Sonebhadra district of UP located just 2.1 kms from the Sanctuary.
The ministry’s regional office in Lucknow in January 2011 said that project was coming up at the site to be notified as reserve forest under the Forest Conservation Act, which is disallowed by the Supreme Court.
Sensing an adverse remark from the regional office, the Uttar Pradesh forest department had forwarded a proposal in January to get the project cleared from the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife.
While considering the proposal the ministry got alerted about the grave violation — construction has started without mandatory clearance of the forest advisory committee.
The board, however, got the site inspected before taking its final decision.