A four-member committee, led by Regional Chief Conservator of Forests, Bangalore, K. Subhakar Reddy, deputed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to carry out a site inspection of the proposed Sompeta thermal power project met representatives of the Nagarjuna Construction Company (NCC) at the Forest Department guest house here on Friday night.

Opposed

The visit of the committee was vehemently opposed by a group of NGOs working for the protection of wetlands and forest resources in the Agency.

When they questioned the panel members at the guest house on the purpose of their visit, Mr. Subhakar Reddy refused to specifically answer anything related to Sompeta, but said that they were mandated by the Union Ministry to study the complaints on four major issues received during the Green India Mission public consultation here on July 5.

The Minster for Environment and Forests had directed them to study all objections on wetlands acquisition, bauxite mining, alumina refinery and thermal power plants, he said, and added that a report would be given to the Director-General after their visit lasting till Monday in North coastal Andhra Pradesh.

Refusing to comment on the necessity or otherwise of the panel visiting Sompeta in view of the National Environment Appellate Authority quashing the Environmental Clearance, he said whatever the panel was asked to do, it would complete and go.

At Vana Vihar guest house, Samata executive director Rebbapragada Ravi, other NGO leaders Singamsetty Bhujanga Rao and Srinivas protested against the proposed visit of the panel to Sompeta.

The panel members said that they were ready to listen to their version also along with that of people allegedly responsible for the condition.

Other members of the panel present during the discussions with company officials were Additional Regional CCF Kaliatha Perumal, Visakhapatnam CCF N. Pradeep Kumar and Deputy CF Murali.

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