Mahagenco was allocated the Gare Palma coal block in Chhattisgarh for mining coal for new units of Koradi, Chandrapur and Parli power plants in August 2016. It has not been able to obtain environmental clearance for the mine so far, let alone start production.
The company was unable to hold public hearing for obtaining environmental clearance due to opposition from locals. The first hearing was scheduled on March 16, 2018, but was cancelled. After several postponements, the hearing was finally held on September 27, 2019.
One would expect that Mahagenco would get the green nod, now that the hearing had been held. However, callousness on part of the officials concerned has delayed the clearance again. They forgot to submit a proper form with all required documents and hence, the application was put on hold by expert appraisal committee (EAC) of ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC).
The EAC noted in the minutes of the meeting, “After deliberation, the EAC observed that Mahagenco, in a haste of submission before validity of baseline data, submitted incomplete and incorrect form 2 on the website of MoEFCC for appraisal. During deliberations, the EAC noted that the project details mentioned in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report were not consistent with that presented during the meeting. The committee, after detailed deliberations, has decided to return the proposal in its present form and has asked for several clarifications.”
Several inputs have been sought from Mahagenco by the EAC.
Form 2 on MoEFCC website should be filled with all details and correct information. One month of baseline data as the given data is almost three years old and validity of baseline data is about to expire. EIA report should be revised as per the terms of reference (ToR) granted for the project. Stage-I forest clearance for forest land of 215 hectare for diversion of non-forestry activity should be submitted.
Copy of agreement for supply of power should be uploaded on form 2. Approval of wildlife conservation from statutory authorities concerned should be taken. Permission for extraction of groundwater from Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) should be obtained.
Permission for usage for surface water for mining should be obtained from statutory authority. Compliance of issues raised during public hearing should be submitted with certain timeline and allocation. Social impact assessment study for the proposed displacement of tribals. Details of hazardous waste generation (if any) during mining operations and disposal should be provided.
Impact of mine drainage on Kelo river should be submitted in detail. Detailed traffic impact assessment for road transportation of coal to linked railway siding should be conducted.
Commenting on these observations, a Mahagenco spokesperson said, “There was a software problem while uploading the properly filled up form. We submitted a hard copy to the EAC after the meeting. The issue has been sorted out.”
Submitted incomplete and incorrect form 2 on the website of MoEFCC for appraisal
Project details mentioned in EIA report were not consistent with that presented during the meeting
Submitted baseline data was almost three years old and its validity is about to expire