Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Feb 13:
While justice Shah Commission inquiring into illegal mining in Odisha has rapped the state government for allowing miners to operate without securing environment clearance, a pelletisation plant of Ardent Steel Limited (ASL) is also running without having environment clearance under the very nose of government in the mineral rich Keonjhar district.
This came to light after the Ministry and Environment and Forest (MoEF) asked the government to initiate legal action against ASL, which is operating a 0.6 MTPA pellet plant in the district.
“The expert appraisal committee of MoEF in its meeting while reviewing the project observed that the proponent has already established and is operating the 0.6 MTPA iron ore pelletisation plant without obtaining environment clearance from the Ministry.
Accordingly, the committee has recommended legal action against the unit by invoking powers under section-19 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 for violation of provision of the act, special secretary, Forest department in a letter to member secretary, Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) said.
The department has asked the OSPCB to furnish all necessary documents on the ASL project before initiating action.
These documents will establish whether the OSPCB had allowed the company to operate without having the environment clearance in violation of the provisions not.
ASL is a subsidiary company of Godawari Power & Ispat limited (GPIL),Raipur. GPIL has 75% share holding in ASL. GPIL is a HIRA group company.
Meanwhile, ASL is planning to develop a 100 mw power plant along with iron ore Washery, DRI plant and rolling mills as part of its proposed expansion of the existing pelletisation plant from 0.6 to 2.1 MTPA in the district.