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28 February 2013 ET/eRc/MV-MoSMoEF/01 To Thirumathi Jayanthi Natarajan Minister of State for Environment and Forests Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110 003 Subject: Demand for Cancelling the Environmental Public Hearing due to be held by Gujarat PCB on 5 March th 2013 for non-compliance of key aspects of the TOR issued vide EAC meeting held on 14 February 2011 for the Mithi Virdi Nuclear Power Plant prepared by Engineers India Limited Dear Madame, In direct contrast to the policies of your government and the TOR specified by your Ministry, the Gujarat State Pollution Control Board has announced and is preparing for the Public th Hearing to be held on 5 March 2013. 1. The location of the site with 78% of double cropped land for the plant not only indicates the lack of sensitivity in the choice of area for acquisition but also that the State and the NPCIL are putting more people to risk, as settlements would be also too close for nuclear plant and the need for some exclusion zone need not be over-emphasised after the recent accidents and increased concern on nuclear disasters.
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The total land requirement for the project is 877 ha, which includes 777 ha for the project and 100 ha for township. The project land also includes 21 ha of forestland. The project area includes the requisite exclusion zone for the six nuclear reactors. Out of this land, 603 ha falls under double crop agriculture category.

Madame, your Government has repeatedly emphasised the need to identify non-agricultural lands for industrial development and this excercise is more like a fait-accompli. 2. The report does not talk about the impacts of taking away such a huge proportion of prime agricultural land, but on the contrary presents a denigrating attitude towards the farming activities and the farming communities. Here we quote from the EIA Report which talks about impact on Land

The impact on land environment during construction phase shall be due to generation of debris/ construction material, which shall be properly collected and disposed off. There will be no accumulation of drainage on the higher elevation side as the site will be graded. A garland drain network is developed to collect and route the drain water towards sea. No impact is envisaged due to the same.

All wastes generated are segregated as solid and hazardous wastes and collected together for disposal. All such wastes will be transported to authorized disposal agency. Accordingly, there shall be no additional load on land environment during operation phase of the project. For establishing soil characteristics within the study area, soil samples from 10 locations were collected and analysed for relevant parameters. The soil of the proposed site is silty loam type. At present, most of the land is under cultivated and sparse scrub vegetation also exists in the study area. However, with the introduction of the project, the land use pattern of the area will improve with neat and clean project buildings, lawns and gardens. (emphasis added) The area in the exclusion zone around the project will be developed into a green belt as per the requirements of AERB and Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB). This will further improve the aesthetic and land use environment at the proposed project site. 3. Madame, we are not going into the gross inadequacies of the entire EIA report and such flimsy statements that are being made in the name of scientific and technical studies and defended by none other than NPCIL. Madame, if there were specific issues we would have offered it as our submission during the Public Hearing, but to conduct a Public Hearing without even adhering to the minimum TOR fixed by the Government is a mockery of the process and hence we seek your intervention to cancel this public hearing and issue strictures to the GSPCB for its lack of oversight. The reality is the EIA has not even identified who will be impacted and what will be impacted and to what extent and is a generic document will some data which has neither any use to local understanding or implications.

One of the issues clearly pointed out in the TOR and is fundamental to any dialogue with Public is to know the Project Affected People and the Resettlement and Rehabilitation Plan. The point number (xiv) in the TOR sates Application of resettlement and rehabilitation policy may be described. Project affected persons should be identified and rehabilitation and resettlement plan should be prepared. The section on R&R in the EIA report is totally hypothetical and does not even say how many households would be affected. The following reproduction from the EIA will make it very obvious to you why this is a fraud being played on the public in the name of public hearing. Preparation of a detailed Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R & R) plan is taken up for compensation to the Project Affected People (PAP) in line with the National Rehabilitation & Resettlement Policy 2007 and in consultation with Gujarat State Government for the project affected people. Discussions are being held with District Collector / Commissioner of the concerned area for compensation for land & landed properties. The NPCIL policy envisages a special focus on the creation and up-gradation of skill sets of landless persons and other project affected persons (PAPs), who are dependent upon agricultural operations over the acquired land, and for the rural artisans e.g. blacksmiths, carpenters, potters, masons etc., who contribute to the society together, to improve their employability. With the help of District Administration, the essential inputs containing lists of land losers and project affected persons are being prepared. NPCIL is committed to establish requisite system for organizing vocational and formal training and education for all such identified persons and extend full assistance to them to become eligible for seeking employment with the project proponent or any other organized sector. NPCIL is committed to implement the R & R package as per the mutual agreement with the State Government.

Given the fact that these have yet to be accomplished why is the NPCIL and GPCB in such a hurry to conduct the Public Hearing without providing the necessary basic information for a meaningful public hearing. We sincerely hope that you will be seized of this, as you have done in issues of environmental importance and natural justice and order the cancellation of this public hearing and instruct the proponent to furnish atleast the basic information relevant to the people. Added to this is the fact that your Ministry has not accorded the required accreditation to this agency for conduct of EIAs for Nuclear Plants as is clear from the following reproduction

4.

Finally, Madame it would be pertinent to point out that the Hon High Court of Himachal Pradesh in CWP No.586 of 2010 Along with CWPIL No. 15 of 2009 pronounced certain guidelines which are as follows and are being continually violated:

109. We also are of the view that certain guidelines need to be issued to ensure that such events do not re-occur in future and accordingly issue the following guidelines: a) The H.P. State Pollution Control Board shall ensure that consent to establish is not granted just for the asking. Even at the time when consent to establish is granted the H.P. State Pollution Control Board, MoEF/EAC shall verify the facts stated in the project report and they shall also indicate to the project proponent what are the para-meters and the laws which the project proponent will have to comply with keeping in view the nature of the project. b) The statement made by the project proponent shall not be accepted without verification. It shall also be made clear that if any statement made by the project proponent is found to be false the permissions granted shall automatically stand cancelled. c) The Pollution Control Board shall ensure that whenever any public hearing is held, the people of the area are well informed about the public hearing and they are also informed about the benefits and the illeffects of the project. The Pollution Control Board must have its own machinery and own scientists who should give an independent opinion on the pros and cons of the project. These shall also be placed on the website of the PCB.

d) In future whenever any studies are being carried out by any project proponent while preparing the EIA reports, the study shall be carried out only after notice to the State Pollution Control Board, MoEF/EAC in case the project requires clearance at the central level and also to the inhabitants of the area where such studies are to be carried out and project has to be established. Notice to the public shall be given in the same manner notice of public hearing is given. (emphasis added) The NPCIL and GPCB must go back to the drawing board and conduct authentic studies through accredited agencies, inform people and then become eligible to conduct the public hearing, until which time no permission should be granted to them including the 21 ha of forest land being sought by the agency. With very warm regards and Expecting Immediate Action,

R.Sreedhar Managing Trustee Cc: The Secretary Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India Paryavaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110 003. The Chairman Central Pollution Control Board Parivesh Bhawan, CBD-cum-Office Complex, East Arjun Nagar, DELHI - 110 032 The Member Secretary Central Pollution Control Board Parivesh Bhawan, CBD-cum-Office Complex, East Arjun Nagar, DELHI - 110 032 The Zonal Officer Central Pollution Control Board Parivesh Bhawan, Opp. VMC Ward Office No. 10, Subhanpura, Vadodara - 390 023 The Chairman Gujarat Pollution Control Board Paryavaran Bhavan Sector 10-A, Gandhinagar - 382 010 The Member Secretary Gujarat Pollution Control Board Paryavaran Bhavan Sector 10-A, Gandhinagar - 382 010 The Regional Officer Gujarat Pollution Control Board Plot No. 1154/2, B, Ghogha Circle, Pattani Road, Bhavnagar - 364 002 The Chairman / The Collector Environment Public Hearing Committee of Bhavnagar