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Environment body cancels clearance to Athena Chhattisgarh Power

R Krishna Das  |  Kolkata/ Raipur 

The National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) has stayed the environment clearance granted to the Athena Chhattisgarh Power Private Limited (ACPPL) that is setting up a 1,200 MW power plant in Janjgir-Champa district of Chhattisgarh.

ACPPL is a group company of Hyderabad-based Athena Power Private Limited (APPL) and has planned to set up two units of 600 MW each in Singhatarai village of Janjgir-Champa district.

The ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) had earlier granted approval to the project. The matter was challenged in the NEAA by the Jan Chetanaa Non-Government Organisation (NGO) working in the state.

"We challenged the environmental clearance on the ground that the MoEF approved the project without considering the fact that the Public Hearing held on January 15, 2009 was cancelled by the chairperson in view of the documents not being made available to the affected public," Jan Chetana Convenor Ramesh Agrawal said.

Even the procedure as contemplated in the EIA Notification was not followed, Agrawal added. The NEAA went through the video recording of the Public Hearing for over an hour which was provided by Jan Chetana and was convinced that there was discrepancy in what was recorded in the minutes of the public hearing and what was spoken in public by the officials.

The video recording clearly showed largescale opposition of the public to the project. Based on the complaint coupled with evidence, the NEAA, in its order issued on November 17, stayed the clearance and said that it could not have been granted without following the due process prescribed in the EIA Notification 2006, Agrawal said.

The company officials could not be contacted for their comment. Agrawal said that this was the first incident in past 12 years that NEAA had stayed the environment clearance granted to any company following protest during the public hearing.

First Published: Tue, November 24 2009. 00:49 IST