Friday, July 12, 2013

Medha Patkar vs Gautam Adani in MP? Green tribunal admits petition against Adanis' Chhindwada power project

Medha Patkar
By Our Representative
The National Green Tribunal (NTG) has admitted application against the Adani Pench Power Project, filed by Medha Patkar, Aradhana Bhargava and farmers of the Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, Chhindwada. The National Allianace for People's Movements (NAPM), the apex body of several people's organisations across India,  has said, "In a significant order dated on July 11, 2013, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi, permitted Medha Patkar, Aradhana Bhargava, Sajje Rao and other project affected villagers to go ahead with the petition filed by them, challenging the environmental clearance (EC) granted to the Adani Pench Thermal Power Project in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh."
The NAPM said, "The application was filed with the NGT, New Delhi, on February 6, 2013, after EC was granted to the 2x660 MW imported coal-based Adani Thermal Power Plant, proposed in Chhindwara". It added, "Activists and villagers faced jail and repression, while farmers and other affected population were threatened with displacement, without assessing the environmental impact."
The tribunal admitted the application despite the fact that the Adani Power Limited, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and the State of Madhya Pradesh objected to it saying section 16 of the NGT Act requires that the complaint should be filed within 90 days of the attainment of environmental clearance (EC) by a project.
Gautam Adani, chairman Adani Group
Sanjay Parikh and Abhimanue Shrestha, counsels of the appellants, pleaded the case required information for the project, which was asked for under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. The information was given only in January 2013. The tribunal agreed with this, concluding that the respondents had not fully complied with the need to provide information while carrying out environmental impact assessment (EIA). 
 On the basis of this, it dismissed the argument that the application should have been filed within 90 days of the attainment of EC allowed and condoned the delay.
The application says that EC was obtained by the Adani Pench Power Ltd in October 2012 through "falsification, concealment and misrepresentation of facts and information." It adds, the MoEF "overlooked the blatant violations of the EIA Notification 2006 at nearly every stage of while granting EC". Land to the thermal power plant was acquired almost 25 years ago by the then Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board (MPSEB), which was later "illegally" transferred to the Adani Power Limited.
The NAPM said, "Yet, the project was not started and the physical possession remained with the farmers, who had been tilling the land till the time they were forcefully displaced by the company, claiming that there is not an issue of rehabilitation. Construction activity of the project commenced in March 2010, prior to granting of EC, and although the commencement of the construction was brought to the notice of state and Central authorities, no action was taken to stop it."
The petition will be heard on August 14.

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