The National Green Tribunal has directed to constitute a joint committee headed by the Regional Officer, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to look into a media report on violation of environmental norms for the operation of Kulda Coal Mine in Odisha and Tamnar Thermal Plant in Chhattisgarh.
NGT principal bench headed by Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel directed for forming a joint Committee of Central Pollution Control Board, State PCBs of Odisha and Chhattisgarh, Regional Officer of MoEF&CC at Bhuvneshwar and District Magistrates Sundergarh (Odisha) and Raipur (Chhattisgarh) to ascertain facts and furnish a report.
“The Committee may meet within two weeks and undertake a visit to the site. The Committee may coordinate with other concerned departments and after ascertaining facts, the concerned statutory regulators may take further remedial action. A factual and action taken report may be furnished to this Tribunal within two months,” the order dated March 30 read.
As per the media reports, it is alleged that the violations take place in the course of transportation of coal from Kulda to Tamnar in 200 dumpers of 21 tonne capacity, requiring 400 daily trips or a truck passing every 3-4 minutes, round the clock, through 14 villages with a combined population of over 15,000 as per census 2011.
Construction work on a CCPC from Kulda could not be accelerated due to the non-availability of dedicated coal linkage. JPL has also planned to develop a dedicated railway siding. Pending such work, JPL will continue the transportation of coal by road from Kulda. Affected villagers have complained of a spike in respiratory illness and contamination of water bodies and cropland, leading to loss of productivity and blackening of vegetables and paddy.
Further hearing in the matter will be held on July 15.