New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday issued notice to the environment and forests ministry on a plea challenging the Bombay High Court order declining to stay the green clearance for a thermal power project in Maharashtra’s Wardha district.
Petitioner Padmakar Vinayak Deshmukh questioned the environment clearance given to Lanco Vidarbha Thermal Power Ltd. Feb 24, 2011.
The apex court vacation bench of Justice H.L. Gokhale and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai asked counsel for Lanco to file an affidavit stating the steps taken to comply with the environment clearance.
Deshmukh’s counsel Monika Gusain told the court that fly ash from the upcoming plant would adversely impact the environment.
She told the court that the thermal plant would require a lot of water which would add to the woes of farmers in the Vidarbha region.
The court said that the commissioning of the thermal power plant was scheduled for 2014 and these problems would arise only then.
As counsel for Lanco said that the company had already spent Rs.29 crore, Justice Gokhale said: “You may spend as much as you want. You are not doing a charity.”
“Let us look into the environmental aspects,” the court said.
Counsel for the company told the court that the “petitioner has not raised any ground except for the public hearing. It is going to be held on June 29 and they can appear in a robust manner”.
While issuing the notice, the court declined to give any interim relief as sought by the petitioner and said that public hearing for inviting objections would take place without being prejudiced by proceedings before it.
On the plea of Deshmukh and three others that the environmental clearance for the project should remain stayed, the Nagpur bench of the high court said: “We are of the view that such a stay is not necessary to serve the interest of justice.”
“Mere building and construction activities which are going on at this stage cannot be said to have an adverse impact on environment per se particularly since the commissioning of the power plant is a long way off,” the court said.
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