The crucial public hearing for getting environment clearances to the Gare coal block allotted to Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh would be held on Wednesday.
The event added significance as it had been organized for the second time after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) cancelled the public hearing held in January 2008 that was marred by large scale violence. The stalemate on the coal block had put JSPL’s expansion plan on a hold.
The Director of Raigarh-based Non-Government Organisation (NGO), Ramesh Agrawal had challenged the public hearing in the NGT. In an important order passed by the NGT on May 2012, the public hearing held earlier was cancelled and the tribunal ordered to again organize a public hearing.
The Raigarh district administration had organized the public hearing on Wednesday. With the NGT passing strict instruction, the administration had made adequate arrangement. “The law and order situation is normal and no additional force has been deployed,” senior police official Prafulla Thakur said.
The environment activists had announced to oppose the project stating that it was not in the interest of the people and would destroy a number of villages. Agrawal, who was shot at after the NGT order came that had partially paralyzed him from waist down, said they would lodge their protest against the project in the hearing.
Agrawal said the coal block was crucial for the JSPL in two senses. First, the companies were badly in need of coal blocks that had been under the scanner these days. Secondly, the coal block would expedite JSPL expansion plan at it would feed the coal requirement in its Raigarh and Nalwa facilities.