Ambuja Ropar plant expansion | NGT issues notice to Centre, Punjab

Ambuja Ropar plant expansion | NGT issues notice to Centre, Punjab

With a plea seeking quashing of Environmental Clearance (EC) for expansion of Ambuja Cements´ unit in Punjab´s Ropar district, the National Green Tribunal has sought the responses from the Centre and the state government. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Punjab government, state pollution control board and Ambuja Cements Ltd in the matter.

The NGT was hearing a plea filed by Punjab resident Rajinder Singh and others challenging the EC granted to the Ambuja plant in Daburji village of Ropar district for expanding its cement grinding unit from 2.5 to 3.4 million tonnes per annum, claiming it would further pollute the atmosphere in the nearby villages.

The plea, filed through advocate Rahul Choudhary, has claimed that the unit was granted the EC for the project in violation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006, Precautionary Principles and Sustainable Development. The petition contended that according to the public hearing report, 99 per cent of about 500 people present at the venue of the public hearing had opposed the proposal for expansion of the unit on account of the problem of pollution that has adversely effected the villages in its vicinity.

"The proposal for expansion of the Ambuja Cement unit was considered by EAC (Industry 1) and thereupon recommendation for the grant of environment clearance was made by the Expert Appraisal Committee. "EAC failed to go into the details of the issues raised by the public during the public hearing or those raised in the written submissions made by local villagers and others in the context of the environment clearance to the expansion of the unit," the plea said.

The plea alleged that the project´s impact on Ambient Air Quality had been "misrepresented" by Ambuja Cements, which was also not taken into consideration by the EAC as the grinding unit is located in a heavily industrialised area with the Guru Gobind Singh Thermal Power Plant (1,200 MW) adjacent to it and the Baddi-Barotiwala-Nalagarh industrial area within 4 km.The firm wants to build on the recent acquisition of the Rs 4,800 crore cement business of Reliance Infrastructure.

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