Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to consider the grievances of a farmers’ association before granting environmental clearance for the Rs.2,500-crore titanium dioxide project that Tata Steel proposes to set up at Tuticorin.

A Division Bench of Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice R. Subbiah passed the orders, disposing of a public interest litigation petition filed by the Kuttam, Theri matrum Tharisu Nila Membattu Vivasaya Sangam.

The association sought to restrain the government from implementing the project without an environmental impact assessment. The Board said the process was under way, and the assessment could be carried out only after Tata Steel filed applications.

Mr. Justice Rao said: “When the statutory authorities are seized of the matter, the apprehension of the petitioner association seems premature. There is no doubt that without complying with the statutory provisions, the 8th respondent [Tata Steel] cannot… establish the project.”