Published On : Wed, May 31st, 2023

Greens term Koradi public hearing illegal, accuse MPCB of violating norms

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Nagpur: The public hearing conducted by Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) was illegal and hence the environmental organisations and others will soon approach the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court to get it quashed, said Sudhir Paliwal of Vidarbha Environmental Action Group (VEAG).

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Environmentalist Leena Buddhe, who studied pollution by thermal power plants, said the public hearing was totally against the law.

The environmental activists of Nagpur on Tuesday alleged that MPCB has violated the Environment Protection Act and rules notified by the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) for conducting the public hearing a day ago. As the basic procedure as per law is not followed by the board, the activists demanded the environment public hearing be declared null and void by the administration, or else the public hearing be re-conducted.

The greens made the demand during a press conference held at the Press Club on Tuesday. On the basis of application of Maharashtra State Electricity Generation Company Limited (MahaGenco), the board published a notice in local newspapers for conducting an environment public hearing for objections against the proposed Koradi 2×660 MW Thermal Power Plant.

According to green activists, the hearing was held during ‘Nautapa’ when the summer heat is at its peak in Vidarbha. Despite protest from citizens, the District Collector conducted the hearing on open land in the afternoon. Mentioning the guidelines of MoEF&CC for procedure for conduct of public hearing, the greens said, “The Public Hearing shall be arranged in a systematic, time bound and transparent manner ensuring widest possible public participation at the project site.”

However, the administration violated this rule by not allowing many respondents of the hearing who reached the venue in the afternoon. As a result many senior citizens went back without attending the public hearing. Greens also claimed that some of the citizens who tried to speak were prevented from opposing the project and had to face abusive language. Even ladies amongst them were targeted and abused; however police remained a silent spectator, they claimed.