Project Name: Loharinag-Pala Hydroelectric Project (4x150 MW)
Agency: National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)
Environmental Clearance granted on 8.2.2005
DELHI HIGH COURT ISSUES NOTICE TO THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT ON THE NON FUNCTIONING OF THE NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL APPELLATE AUTHORITY.
The Delhi High Court took a very serious view of the non functioning of the National Environmental Appellate Authority which has been functioning with just one members for the last two years and without a Chairperson for the last five years and issued Notices to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest. Chief Justice B. A. Khan and Justice M. B. Lokur passed the order in response to a writ petition filed by Matu People’s Organization and others.
The original appeal against the project filed by Matu Peoples’ Organisation and two headmen of effected villages named Tihar and Bhatwari against Ministry of Environment & Forest, Uttaranchal State Pollution Control Board and NTPC was dismissed by the Appellate authority on the ground that they could not come within the stipulated time of 30 days from the date of clearance of the project. According to petitioners’ the Environmental Public Hearing of 600 MW Loharinag-Pala Hydroelectric Project on Bhagirathi River in Uttaranchal was organized without providing required documents and their are many other discriminates in the Environment Clearance was given to the project on 8-2-05.
Acting Chief Justice B.A Khan took serious exception to the manner in which petitions concerning lives of tribal and rural peoples were dismissed by the Vice Chairperson (Shri Vishwanathan Anand, Former Secretary Ministry of Environment and Forest) without even considering the merits of the case. The Court asked the Union Ministry to file a detailed reply on the functioning of the Appellate Authority, the rule as to Quorum and the current composition. The matter is fixed for hearing on the 19th of September.
Adv. Sanjay Parikh and Adv. Ritwick Dutta told to the High Court that the National Environmental Appellate Authority was set up through an Act of parliament in order provide a forum for the redressal of grievances on account of grant of Environmental Clearance. The Authority is mandated to have five members comprising of a former Judge of the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice as Chairperson, a former Secretary to the Government of India as Vice Chair person and three technical members. Since the last two years the Authority has been functioning with only the Vice Chairperson.
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