9 members of panel for green nod to coal projects skipped key meeting
The 13 members of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) have expertise in areas like mining, forestry and pollution. At least seven to 10 EAC members usually meet for appraisals of mining projects .Updated: Jun 26, 2019 06:59 IST
Only four out of the 13 members of a committee that grants environmental clearances to coal mining projects were present at the panel’s 45th meeting in Delhi on May 27, according to people aware of the development.
The 13 members of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) have expertise in areas like mining, forestry and pollution. At least seven to 10 EAC members usually meet for appraisals of mining projects. “I think other [EAC] members were preoccupied and could not make it to the meeting,” said EAC chairman Navin Chandra.
EAC member secretary S K Srivastava said he needs to check if a quorum is needed for EAC meeting.
Some of the projects discussed at the meeting included expansions of coal mining in Telangana’s Kondapuram and Saoner in Nagpur, grant of terms of reference for a mine in Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) and revalidation of environmental clearance to an opencast mine in Odisha’s Sundergarh.
Only three out of the seven Forest Advisory Committee members, who consider clearances for projects involving forest diversions, were present at the panel’s last meeting on May 22. No independent experts attended the meeting.
Kanchi Kohli, a legal researcher at New Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Policy Research, said appraisal is a definitive stage of the environment clearance processes involved. “It requires multi-disciplinary expert committee to take all facts, submissions, and concerns into account and weigh in with their experience to decide whether a project should be granted approval or not,’’ she said.