New Delhi, Oct 21:
Essar Steel was today permitted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to start construction for laying a portion of its 253-km long slurry pipeline to transport iron ore from its steel beneficiation plant in Keonjhar district of Odisha to another unit in Paradip.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar made it clear that Essar is allowed to begin work only on 0.723 hectares of forest land in the state for which it has received clearance from the authorities.
The order came on an application of Essar, which informed the bench that it had received forest clearance (FC) to commence work on 0.723 hectare of land and sought that the tribunal’s December 19, 2012 order prohibiting any construction without FC be modified and the company be allowed to start work at its cost.
Essar also informed the bench that till date it had already laid 227 km of the pipeline and is awaiting FC for other sections of project site to complete the work.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Raj Panjwani, appearing for petitioner Sarbeshwar Mishra, argued that unless FC is granted for all components of the project, Essar should not be allowed to start the work which the NGT had halted last year for want of clearance.
After hearing contentions of both sides, the bench listed the matter for final arguments on December 11 and 12.
The 253-km long slurry transportation system, envisaged from beneficiation plant to Paradip, will traverse through four Odisha districts of Keonjhar, Jajpur, Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur and will use the water of river Baitrani.
Beneficiation is the process of removing impurities from the ore. (PTI)