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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Notice issued to Jindal Saw Limited &Others by the Gujrat High Court

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Alleging irregularities of Jindal Saw Limited and others to hold a proposed public hearing and starting construction without environmental clearance for its new unit at Mundra in Kutch District, the Gujarat High Court has issued notice to the company.

Earlier, a petition was filed in the public interest before first bench of the court by Mahesh Solanki and Aniruddha Singh Jethwa, residents of Samaghogha village in Mundra Taluka of Kutch.

According to a local report the petitioners claimed that the project of the company fell under category  B  for which prior environmental clearance was necessary. The claim was made by Mr. Anand Yagnik, the advocate of the petitioners. The claim was made that the clearance from the state level expert appraisal committee was yet to be taken, and still the construction at the proposed site was started by the company.

 The petitioners claimed that – it was clear violation of the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 as amended and instructions issued by respondent Ministry of Environment and Forest, Government of India under the Environment Rules and Environment Act.

The advocate Mr. Yagnik has reportedly told that the company already had a manufacturing unit in the vicinity, Manufacturing DI pipes of different sizes and that might be an extension of the existing unit. However, before getting prior environmental clearance no construction of any nature could be put up except fencing and making temporary shelter for guards. The construction was going at a good speed as if clearance was just a paper formality before even the public hearing took place.

 The advocate further said that the venue of the public hearing on Tuesday was in the school located inside the existing unit of Jindal Saw Limited and that was not a neutral venue as required under law and hence it was needed to have been changed. It was also alleged by the petitioners that the project proponents of the company had not even submitted a summary in vernacular language or Environmental Assessment Report with either the Gram Panchayat or the Mamlatdar office.

 According to the report -The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) stated, for the purpose of "Informed participation of villagers" in the public hearing, copy of the entire Environmental Impact Assessment Report is required to be provided in vernacular language before actually public hearing takes place with a sufficient gap between provision of the EIA Report of the proposed project in vernacular language and the public hearing. The petitioners have also challenged the EIA notification of 2006 issued by Ministry of Environment and Forests to the extent that it permits provision of summary in vernacular language. They've challenged it on the ground that such discrimination on the basis of language violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India and it therefore is unconstitutional.

Key Words: Jindal Saw Limited, public hearing, petition, Gujarat High Court, PIL, Environmental Impact Assessment Report (EIAR), Article 14 of the Constitution of India

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