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Fresh anomalies found in environmental assessment report for the proposed N-plant at Mithi Virdi

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Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to Jayanthi Natarajan, minister of state for environment and forests, Government of India, top environmentalist NGO Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti activists Krishnakant, Rohit Prajapati and Swati Desai have said that they have found new anomalies in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant prepared by the Engineers India Limited (EIL), asking her to take steps to immediately cancel the environmental public hearing, to take place on March 5. In an earlier letter, dated February 22, two environmentalists in a demand had said that the EIA report of the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant had been prepared by EIL without necessary accreditation. In the new letter, the NGO has said that it is not just the “un-accredited” nature of the consultants appointed by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) for the proposed 6,000 MW Nuclear Power Plant at Mithi Virdi area of Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, which they now question.
Saying that the area for which EIA has been carried out is just one-third of the area of what it should have been done, the environmentalists quote necessary documents to prove their point. The letter has also been forwarded to other senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials for perusal.
The letter says, “Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Point No 7 clearly mention that the study area should cover an area of 30 km radius around the proposed site for conventional pollutants and 30 km radius for radiological parameters. However, the EIA report categorically mentions that 30 km for radiological areas of the study “will be undertaken in future”. The environmentalists contend, this shows that “the radiological survey is yet to be carried out for 30 km area and have not been carried out as stipulated by MoEF in the Terms Of Reference (TOR).”
Saying that this is a clear violation of ToR, the NGO says, “No villager/village panchayat in the 10-30 kms radius has been informed or served notice for the public hearing as the rules stipulate by the concerned authorities.” In fact, “the EIA report clearly states that the study has been done only within 10 km radius and it is in future further studies will be conducted”. The environmentalists quote from page No 283 of the report to prove their point.
Areas Surveyed: Radiological survey will be done up to a radial distance of 30 km around the plant. Generally, samples from various environmental matrices will be collected from the survey area. The indicator organism like goat thyroid will be collected from selected area (as per the requirements of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board - AERB). Different types of samples will be collected from the terrestrial and aquatic environs of the 30km study area covering, soil, cereals, pulses and vegetation samples. Typically around 1000 samples will be collected and analysed every year. List of sampling locations, frequency of sampling and different types of samples to be monitored during post project period in different area will be worked out as per the requirements of AERB.” 
Then, page No 383 has been quoted as saying:
“11.1.3 MONITORING RADIOLOGICAL PARAMETERS AROUND MITHIVIRDI 
Comprehensive radiological survey will be conducted by Health Physics Division (HPD) of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in the zone of radial distance of 30 km and the same will be continued till the life of Mithivirdi NPP for monitoring of radiation impacts and to establish that the radiation dose, in the public domain are within the prescribed limits of AERB.” 
Further, the NGO says, the EIA report mentions that a detail of the de-commissioning of the plant is explained in the section 4.3.11 of Chapter 4, as stipulated. However, the environmentalists point out that there is no section 4.3.11 in the Chapter 4 of the EIA report and the sections are only upto section 4.3.10. “We understand that the said details have not been gathered and the study remains incomplete as there is no mention of that in the EIA report”, it demands.
Based on these facts, the environmentalists have demanded:
1. The concerned authority should immediately cancel the EPH as EIA is incomplete.
2. The concerned authority should immediately reject the EIA of Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant of the NPCIL prepared by EIL as EIA is incomplete.
3. The concerned authority should apologise to the people of Gujarat for such a grave mistake allowing EPH on an illegal and incomplete EIA.
4. The concerned authority should pass stricture against NPCIL and consultant EIL for such an illegal action on their part.

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