In a major setback to OPG Power Gujarat, the National Green Tribunal has directed it to stop work at its 300 Mw thermal power plant at Bhadreshwar, Gujarat.
The ongoing construction work was challenged before the Tribunal by fisherfolk, saltpan workers and local villagers. The Tribunal said till all approvals were obtained by the project proponent, no construction activity should take place, said Ritwik Dutta, legal counsel for the appellants.
The Tribunal is a specialised body having the expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues. It was established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection.
OPG Power started construction work without the required approvals, including those under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and CRZ clearance. This projectis located in Mundra Taluk, Kutch district.
On its website, the company had said “work had begun on the site. The generating plants are scheduled to be commissioned in 2013.”
The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) earlier this month had issued a showcause notice to OPG Power, seeking explanation on the violation of the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification, 2011, in the construction of the plant in the ecologically sensitive Bhadreshwar coast.
In the showcause notice, it has asked the company why the clearance issued to it in September 2011 under the CRZ notification should not be kept in abeyance after cases of violations by the company surfaced.
The NGT in its judgment cited the environmental clearance letter, which clearly stipulates that the project proponent shall not start any construction or project enabling activities unless and until environmental clearance as well as all requisite prior permission and clearances are obtained.