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Pirna Iron ore mine, Goa stayed by NEAA


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In a significant decision, the National Environment Appellate Authority  on 10-05-2010 has stayed the Environmental Clearance granted to the mine of Sesa Goa (a Vedanta owned company) located at  Village Pirna and Nadora in Bardez Taluk, North Goa. The project was granted environmental clearance by the Ministry of Environment and Forest on 09-06.2009 and was challenged before the National Environment Appellate Authority, New Delhi by a local group called Pirna Naroda Nagrik Kruti Samiti. 

The noted environment lawyer Ritwick Dutta of Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) informed that the main ground for challenge was that at the Public hearing held for the project, there was 100 % opposition on behalf of the local people to the mining project. Yet the Expert Appraisal Committee decided to overlook the opposition and in a mechanical fashion recommended for grant of environmental clearance. The minutes of the EAC meeting did not reveal that the EAC even bothered to look at the minutes of the Public Hearing.

Further, the EAC at the time was headed by one M. L. Majumdar who himself was on the board of four mining companies and therefore the decision was biased has held by the Delhi High Court in the case of Uttakarsh Mandal Vs Ministry of Environment and Forests.

SESA Goa, however, took the stand that 53 people supported the project. The NEAA however did not accept this contention since none of the 53 persons supporting the project were present at the Public Hearing. 

The NEAA in its order directed that he Ministry of Environment and Forest should constitute a sub committee of the EAC to visit the area and examine the reasons for the opposition to the mining and reexamine its impact on agriculture horticulture, school children, health, habitation, river and ground water etc and also in the light of the fact that the Ministry of Environment has imposed a moratorium on mining in Goa.

The NEAA further directed that the Committee should have three environment experts and one mining expert and advance intimation be given to the persons of the area who opposed the project.
The NEAA directed that the Environmental Clearance granted should be held in abeyance until further orders.

 

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