A plea challenging environmental clearance granted to Numaligarh Refineries for setting up a bamboo based bio-ethanol project in a Assam village has prompted the National Green Tribunal today to seek responses from the Centre and the state government. Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) will utilise bamboo as main biomass for producing bioethanol under the project at Owguri Chapori village in Golaghat (Assam). A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Assam government, state pollution control board and Numaligarh Refinery Limited and sought their reply by February 21. The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by wildlife activist Rohit Choudhury seeking quashing of the environment clearance granted to the project on November 2, 2016. It claimed that the proposed project fell within the no development zone of the Kaziranga National Park and Environment Impact Assessment Report has been prepared in complete violation of the EIA Notification, 2006. "The Project Proponent has not complied with the Terms of reference (TOR) provided by the EAC while preparing the EIA Report.
The project lies within the no development zone of the Kaziranga National Park and the presence of such industries in such an ecologically sensitive zone can affect the ecological balance of the area entirely threatening the lives of all the flora and fauna in the area," the plea said. The petition contended that the proposed project has not been placed before the Task Force Committee, constituted by the Assam government for implementation of the no development zone notification. "Direct that a through independent and comprehensive impact assessment will be carried out to study the impacts of the proposed project on the proposed area and appraise the project afresh," the plea said.
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