MoEF panel rejects impact report on SCCL project

Says it lacks necessary details, apart from conflict of interest

The expert appraisal committee of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has rejected the impact assessment report submitted as part of the process for environmental clearance for the two-million-tonne-per-annum Kistaram opencast coal mining project proposed by the Singareni Collieries Company Ltd in Khammam district.

At its recent meeting held in New Delhi, the committee of experts pointed out that the impact assessment report prepared by Kakatiya University in association with the project proponent SCCL amounted to conflict of interest and it was not acceptable. The proposal for environmental clearance for the coal mining project was deferred seeking a fresh impact assessment report.

The proposal for environmental clearance to the opencast coal mining project on an extent of 435.68 hectares at Kistaram village of Sathupalli mandal of Khammam district was initially considered for the environmental clearance process by issuing terms of reference in January 2017. After the project was given stage-one forest clearance for 285.44 hectares forest land in September last year, the expert committee at its meeting held in December 2018 had decided to appraise the environmental conditions around Sathupalli town separately.

As no information was made available regarding compliance with the conditions laid down in the stage one at the December 2018 meeting of the expert committee, the proposal for environmental clearance was deferred. In compliance with the conditions, a report prepared by Kakatiya University, Warangal, was submitted at the expert committee meeting held in January last week on the study of impact of opencast mining project on Sathupalli town, flora and fauna in the adjoining forest along with measures to mitigate the impacts.

According to officials, the committee, however, observed that the report submitted by Kakatiya University in association with SCCL was lacking the requisite details in respect of impact of mining operations on air and water quality, groundwater, stability of residential structures, source of livelihood for the locals of Sathupalli town, their dependency on the forest, flora and fauna, methodology for health survey and others.

‘Generic in nature’

Further, the committee observed that the report was found to be generic in nature and not addressing actual assessment and impact on environmental parameters in and around Sathupalli town and deferred the proposal again. When contacted, sources in the SCCL stated that they were left with no option but to submit a fresh impact assessment recent on the required lines.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 12:16:02 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/moef-panel-rejects-impact-report-on-sccl-project/article26231442.ece

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