The case relating to violation of forest laws by Jindal Steel & Power for its six million tonne steel plant at Angul has taken a new turn with the forest & environment department in Orissa asking the Union ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) to take necessary action under Environment Protection Act (EPA)-1986 against JSPL.
It may be noted that the MoEF in March this year had directed the state forest & environment department to initiate action against JSPL under EPA for undertaking construction work on non-forest land without prior forest clearance.
"JSPL has started construction activity on non-forest land without prior forestry clearance, violating the Forest Conservation Act (FCA)-1980 which is not in consonance with the environmental clearance accorded to the project. The state government is requested to take action against the company by invoking the provisions of FCA”, director, MoEF, had said in a letter addressed to secretary (forest & environment), Orissa government in March this year.
The state government has however, argued that it is the MoEF's responsibility to initiate action against JSPL as the state government had apprised the ministry of violation of FCA by the steel maker in October last year.
The state department of forest & environment has now written to MoEF, asking the ministry to take action against JSPL under EPA or alternatively, direct the company to undertake compensatory afforestation as a penalty.