FAC considered diversion of 4179 ha on 28 February 2017

FAC considered diversion of 4179 ha on 28 February 2017            

As usual serious delays in sharing of agenda by MoEF&CC

Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC) is considering diversion of 4179 ha of forest in its meeting on 28 February as per the agenda shared in public domain, just 4 days before the meeting on 23 February.

For a change, instead of mining, maximum diversion is proposed for two defence projects amounting to 35 per cent (1445 ha) of the total followed by two Hydel projects amounting to 33 per cent (1357 ha). Chhattisgarh leads among states with maximum diversion proposed followed by Arunachal Pradesh.

 

SECTOR WISE AREA PROPOSED FOR DIVERSION

Sr. No.

Sector

Area

% Area

Proposals

% Proposals

1

DEFENCE

1445.75

34.60

2

18.18

2

HYDEL

1356.83

32.47

2

18.18

3

MINING

1181.35

28.27

5

45.45

4

OTHERS

141.99

3.40

1

9.09

5

WIND POWER

52.66

1.26

1

9.09

-

Total

4178.58

100.00

11

100.00

 

STATE AND SECTOR WISE AREA PROPOSED FOR DIVERSION

Sr. No.

State

Sector

Area

% Area

Proposals

% Proposals

1

ANDHRA PRADESH

WIND POWER

52.66

1.26

1

9.09

2

ARUNACHAL PRADESH

HYDEL

1165.66

27.90

1

9.09

3

CHHATTISGARH

DEFENCE

845.34

20.23

1

9.09

4

CHHATTISGARH

MINING

665.23

15.92

1

9.09

5

JHARKHAND

MINING

34.64

0.83

1

9.09

6

MADHYA PRADESH

DEFENCE

600.406

14.37

1

9.09

7

MAHARASHTRA

OTHERS

141.99

3.40

1

9.09

8

ODISHA

MINING

481.485

11.52

3

27.27

9

UTTARAKHAND

HYDEL

191.173

4.58

1

9.09

-

TOTAL

-

4178.584

100.00

11

100.00

 

*Out of 14 items in the agenda (as on 23.02.2017) 3 are excluded being Modification of approval, Stage I granted and Policy issue. 

 

Analysis by

 

Pushp Jain & Terence Jorge

EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC)

New Delhi - 110 048. India Web : ercindia.org;

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

 

LIST OF PROJECTS

SI No.

File no.

Name of the Proposal / Agenda Item

State

Area (ha)

Category

View Documents

Sandeep Sharma AIGF(FC)

1

8-20/2014-FC

REVISED PROPOSAL FOR DIVERSION OF 1165.66 HA INCLUDIND(91.33 HA UNDER GROUND AREA) OF FORESTLAND FOR CONSTRUCTION OF ETALIN HYDRO ELECTRIC PROJECT (3097 MW) IN DIBANG VALLEY DISTRICT OF ARUNCHAL PRADESH BY M/S ETALIN HYDRO ELECTRIC POWER COMPANY LTD

ARUNACHAL PRADESH

1165.66

HYDEL

Click On

2

8-02/2016-FC

ESTABLISH TECHNICAL FACILITY FOR DEFENCE RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT ORGANISATION

CHHATTISGARH

845.34

DEFENCE

Click On

3

8-59/2012-FC

DIVERSION OF 197.173 HA. OF FOREST LAND FOR 252 MW DEVSARI HYDRO ELECTRIC PROJECT ON RIVER PINDER IN TEHSIL THARALI, DISTT. CHAMOLI IN FAVOUR OF M/S SJVN

UTTARAKHAND

191.173

HYDEL

Click On

4

8-ORA105/2006-FCD

DIVERSION OF GANDHAMARDAN BLOCK 'A' MINES IN KEONJHAR FOREST DIVISION IN FAVOUR OF M/S ORISSA MINING CORPORATION LIMITED

ORISSA

216.3617

MINING

Click On

5

8-12/2016-FC

BAILADILA IRON-ORE MINE DEPSIT - 4 DIVERSION OF 570.10 HA. OF FOREST LAND OF MINING LEASE AREA AND 95.13 HA. OF FOREST LAND FOR OUT SIDE MINING AREA

CHHATTISGARH

665.23

MINING

Click On

6

8-11/2009-FC VOL.

PROPOSAL FOR MODIFICATION OF APPROVAL GRANTED EARLIER AND POST FACTO APPROVAL FOR 14.491 HA. OF ADDITIONAL FOREST LAND UTILIZED, IN THE CASE OF DIVERSION OF 56.508 HA. OF FOREST LAND IN HYARADA RESERVE FOREST, DAVANGERE DIVISION FOR ALREADY ESTABLISHED 39.60 MW WIND POWER PROJECT IN FAVOUR OF M/S.CHITRADURGA WIND POWER PRIVATE LIMITED, BANGALORE-REGARDING.

KARNATAKA

56.508

WIND POWER

Click On

Rajagopal Prashant, AIGF(FC)

7

8-28/2016-FC

DIVERSION OF 52.66 HA OF FOREST LAND IN COMPT. NOS. 446, 445, 444, 443, 441, 440 AND 438 OF KUDERU AND KONDAPALLI RF OF ANANTHAPURAMU FOREST DIVISON & DISTRICT OF ANDHRA PRADESH FOR ESTABLISHING WIND POWER PROJECT.

ANDHRA PRADESH

52.66

WIND POWER

Click On

Nisheeth Saxena, AIGF(FC)

8

8-40/2016-FC

DIVERSION OF 600.406 HA. OF FOREST LAND IN FAVOUR OF DEFENCE MINISTRY, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF DEFENCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION (DRDO).

MADHYA PRADESH

600.406

DEFENCE

 

9

11-91/2012-FC

ADVANCE FIXING DATES FOR FAC MEETING IN WHOLE YEAR.

NIL

NIL

POLICY ISSUE

 

Rajagopal Prashant, AIGF(FC)

10

8-68/2004-FC (VOL-I)

DIVERSION OF ADDITIONAL 34.64 HA OF FOREST LAND FOR URIMARI OPEN CAST MINING PROJECT IN FAVOUR OF M/S CENTRAL COALFIELDS LIMITED IN HAZARIBAGH DISTRICT OF JHARKHAND.

JHARKHAND

64.64

MINING

 

Sandeep Sharma AIGF(FC)

11

8-07/2017-FC

DIVERSION OF 141.99 HA PROTECTED FOREST LAND & ZUDPI FOREST LAND UNDER FOREST (CONSERVATION) ACT., 1980 FOR THE PURPOSED ASH UTILIZATION, PROMOTION AND RESEARCH PARK AT VILLAGE KACHEWANI & MENDIPUR, TAL. TIRODA, DISTT. GONDIA, MAHARASHTRA.

MAHARASHTRA

141.99

OTHERS

Click On

12

8-46/2016-FC

DIVERSION OF 434.935 HA OF FOREST LAND WITH KODINGMALI BAUXITE MINING LEASE AREA INCLUDING 18.098 HA OF FOREST LAND IN SAFETY ZONE AND 6.860 HA OF FOREST LAND OUTSIDE THE ML AREA FOR CONSTRUCTION OF APPROACH ROAD TO THE MINING LEASE ) FOR MINING OF BAUXITE IN KODINGMALI BAUXITE MINES LOCATED IN KORAPUT AND RAYAGADA DISTRICTS OF ODISHA BY M/S OMC.

ORISSA

434.935

MINING

Click On

13

8-100/1997-FC (VOL.)

DIVERSION OF BALANCE 17.14 HA OF SABIK KISAM FOREST LAND AS ON 25.10.1980 INCLUDING 0.57 HA OF FOREST LAND IN SAFETY ZONE IN ADDITION TO ALREADY DIVERTED FOREST LAND OF 224.63 HA FOR CHROMITE MINING IN THEIR SARUABIL CHROMITE MINE OF 246.858 HA IN VILLAGE SARUABIL, KAMARDA AND TAILANGI UNDER SUKINDA TAHASIL OF JAJPUR DISTRICT, ODISHA UNDER CUTTACK FOREST DIVISION DURING EXTENDED MINING LEASE PERIOD AS PER MMDR (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2015 BY M/S MISRILAL MINES (P) LTD.

ORISSA

17.14

MINING

Click On

14

8-176/1997-FC (VOL.)

DIVERSION OF 29.41 HA OF FOREST LAND (20.89 HA FRESH FOREST LAND AND 8.52 HA OF FOREST LAND FOR RE-DIVERSION OUT OF ALREADY DIVERTED FOREST AREA OF 227.89 HA FOR KULDA OCP OF MAHANANDI COALFIELDS LTD.) IN SUNDARGARH FOREST DIVISION OF SUNDARGARH DISTRICT, ODISHA FOR CONSTRUCTION OF BASUNDHARA COAL WASHERY (10 MTY) BY M/S MAHANADI COALFIELDS LIMITED.

ORISSA

29.41

MINING

 

 

 

Sarguja mine expansion stalled

Environment Ministry panel puts plan on hold over coal mine’s compliance

An expert body of the Environment Ministry has put on hold a proposal by Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd. to expand the Sarguja mine, which is operated by an Adani-group company, for not complying with environmental clearances.

The ‘Parsa East and Kanta Basan’ open cast mine, which consists of a coal washery and being developed at a cost of ₹2,369 crore, involves 1,871 hectares of forest and an elephant corridor.

It is already mired in litigation. Resident tribal groups and activists have complained that the operations of the mine, temporarily cleared by the Supreme Court to operate at a capacity of 10 million tonnes per annum (mtpa), have over the years led to heightened dust pollution from the increased vehicular traffic, unchecked burning of coal and contamination of common water sources due to the discharge of mine-waste.

 

The Adani-group company operates the mine on behalf of the Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (RRVNL) which has been allotted the block for 30 years, from where coal will be sourced to run thermal power plants in Rajasthan of around 4000 MW capacity.

RRVNL had approached the Expert Appraisal Committee for Thermal and Coal Mining Sector projects, a Union Environment Ministry body, for permission to expand the coal mine’s capacity from the existing 10 mtpa to 15 mtpa. According to estimates, 452 million tonnes can be extracted from the mine and the project will displace 114 families.

“The Committee was not convinced with the compliance status of Environment Clearance conditions,” say the minutes of the environment ministry’s expert panel. “The expansion may cause significant impact on the surrounding environment including socio-economic aspects.”

http://www.thehindu.com/business/Industry/adani-mining-s-sarguja-expansion-stalls/article17314000.ece

Modi government to amend law to bar courts from stalling development projects

http://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2017/feb/12/modi-government-to-amend-law-to-bar-courts-from-stalling-development-projects-1569606.html 

 

By Yatish Yadav  |   Published: 12th February 2017 07:15 AM  |  

NEW DELHI: Irked by the number of development schemes—which are high on the PM’s agenda—getting shelved owing to injunctions, the Narendra Modi government is ready with an amendment that bars the courts from issuing interim stays.

The latest irritant for the government was the National Green Tribunal stay, issued on January 2, on the Pune Metro proposal, just days after Modi performed the bhoomi pujan. While the Supreme Court vacated the NGT order on January 21, the government is set to amend the Specific Relief Act, drawing a laxman rekha for courts dealing with cases pertaining to public works contracts.

The government note, reviewed by The Sunday Standard, contains the new section, 14 A, seeking to restrict the power of courts to grant injunctions THAT impede or delay the timely completion of welfare projects. The draft will go to the Cabinet for approval, after which it will be introduced in Parliament when it opens on March 9.  

The latest World Bank report ranks India among the bottom five of 190 countries on ease of doing business.

Section 14 A intends litigation not to halt the progress of infrastructure projects. Leaving no scope for interpretation, the amendment also seeks to specifically define “public works contract” by altering Section 2 of Specific Relief Act. “Public works contract means a contract entered into by or on behalf of the Central government, a state government, a local self government or an agency thereof, for the creation, upgradation, operation or maintenance of infrastructure, including roads, water supply, electricity, sewerage treatment, construction of public buildings, highways, bridges, ports, schools, airports, urban development and railways,” the note reviewed by this newspaper said.

Government sources said corporate rivalry and tussles between governments and investors cause projects to be challenged in courts. By the time a case is decided, there is a cost escalation of the scheme by ten times in the majority of cases. The bar on injunction could apply even at the stage of the tendering process.

The Narendra Modi government is adding a new section, 14A, to The Specific Relief Act in an amendment seeking to restrict the power of judiciary. If passed in Parliament, courts will no longer be able to grant injunctions, which may impede or delay the timely completion of welfare projects.

“Intent of the proposed law is to get the work done rather than compensation. The existing law was giving discretionary power to the court for remedies concerning breach of contract. The discretion is sought to be regimented through amendments which will ensure that even in cases where contract cannot be performed, the project remains alive at the cost of the defaulter running away from the agreement,” sources further added.

In line with the government’s development agenda, more amendments may be brought to apply to other provisions of the Specific Relief Act to deter parties choosing not to fulfill their contract obligations. The government will insert a new section, 20A, in the Act to allow a contract to be finished by a third party at the original contractor’s expense if the latter decides to abandon a project halfway. The note said, “Insertion of a new section 20A, to provide for a new relief of compensation for substituted performance of contract, so that the promisee (a party to the contract) who suffers from breach of contract performed through substituted performance by a third person at the cost and expense of the promisor (defaulter) committing such breach.”

Since courts lack technical expertise, the amendment will empower them to seek the help of experts to assist.

Under the existing law, the courts grant monetary compensation in exceptional circumstances. The government note argues that such remedies are not available to the parties as a matter of right, being entirely at the discretion of the court. “Where the legal system prefers compensatory relief, the promisor (defaulter/ contractor) has an incentive to break his contract if such course of action is more beneficial to him than performing it (completing the project).”

 

Solar power breaks a price barrier

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/Solar-power-breaks-a-price-barrier/article17292695.ece

 

In another barrier-breaking development, the auctioned price of solar photovoltaic (SPV) power per kilowatt hour has dropped below ₹3 to ₹2.97 in Madhya Pradesh, providing a clear pointer to the future course of renewable energy. The levellised tariff — factoring in a small annual increase for a given period of time — for the 750 MW Rewa project over a 25-year period is ₹3.29, which is less than half the rate at which some State governments signed contracts in recent years. The progress of this clean source of energy must be deepened with policy incentives, for several reasons. Arguably, the most important is the need to connect millions of people without access to electricity. A rapid scaling-up of solar capacity is vital also to meet the national goal of installing 100 gigawatts by 2022, a target that is being internationally monitored as part of the country’s pledges under the Paris Agreement on climate change. It will also be transformational for the environment, since pollution from large new coal-based power plants can be avoided. There is everything to gain by accelerating the pace of growth that essentially began in 2010, with the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. Yet, performance has not matched intent and the target of installing 12 GW solar capacity in 2016-17 is far from attainable, since it fell short by almost 10 GW as of December.

 

A glaring lacuna in the national policy on renewables is the failure to tap the investment potential of the middle class. While grid-connected large-scale installations have received maximum attention, there is slow progress on rooftop solar. Clearly, adding capacity of the order of more than 10 GW annually over the next six years towards the 100 GW target will require active participation and investment by the buildings sector, both residential and commercial. This process can be kick-started using mass participation by citizens, with State electricity utilities being given mandatory time frames to introduce net-metering systems with a feed-in tariff that is designed to encourage the average consumer to invest in PV modules, taking grid electricity prices into account. The experience of Germany, where robust solar expansion has been taking place over the years, illustrates the benefits of policy guarantees for rooftop installations and feed-in tariffs lasting 20 years. SPV costs are expected to continue to fall, and tariffs paid both for large plants and smaller installations require periodic review. At some point, significant subsidies may no longer be necessary. That scenario, however, is for the future. Currently, India needs a lot more good quality power, which renewables provide. Solar power is an emissions-free driver of the economy, generating growth in both direct and indirect employment. A lot of sunlight remains to be tapped.

‘Religion’, ‘animal thirst’ cited as reasons to approve infra projects in wildlife areas

Religion, quenching animal thirst and public interests are some of the reasons cited by an environment ministry panel to recommend big ticket projects in and around India’s critical tiger and wildlife habitats.

About 50 such projects got nod at a meeting of the standing committee of the national board for wildlife (SC-NBWL) headed by environment minister Anil Madhav Dave, the minutes of the meeting released this week revealed.

Religion was invoked to allow widening of a road through Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve in Andhra Pradesh. The project is dubbed “public utility for the devotees” as it would provide better connectivity between Atmakur to Kolanu Bharathi Temple.

The minutes of the meeting held on January 3 said the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) recommended the project after due feasibility assessment carried out by a team of officers and scientists.

While allowing a check dam at Balaram Ambji sanctuary in Gujarat, the committee maintained that the water stored there will help wildlife to quench their thirst during dry season.

A large area of the sanctuary will be utilised for building the dam.

The committee recommended an approach canal through Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary in Narmada district of Gujarat, stating it will provide irrigation facilities to farmers of 10 villages.

The panel also allowed conversion of meter gauge line to broad gauge through Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra as Indian Railways claimed that an alternate route would result in “felling of thousand of trees”.

The minutes showed that the railway’s claim has not been vetted by any expert agency and the concerns of the NTCA on impact of the faster train line through the reserve on tiger dispersal, habitat connectivity for genetic exchange and protection failed to find much consideration.

Minister Dave overruled the concerns and allowed the project saying the mitigation measures by the NTCA would be enforced through a memorandum of understanding with railways.

Pushp Jain of non-government EIA Resource Centre, however, said the government has failed to provide any assessment of the habitat loss because of the alternate route that could have benefitted people in districts of Akola, Amravati and Bhandara.

Conservationists say the conversion will also result in cutting of the trees on 161 hectares of the forestland but the convoluted minutes fail to provide details.

Ravi Singh, chief executive officer of World Wide Fund (WWF) for nature said the standing committee was within its rights to take these decisions as they did not violate any law. “One has to consider the pressure of devotees or demand for development by locals. But, it does not mean that the government should not improve habitat for wildlife,” he told HT.

The NDA government has modified rules to expedite approvals in and around the wildlife areas for ease of doing business especially for mining, irrigation and linear projects.

An analysis of approvals by the highest advisory body of the environment ministry by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) showed that close to 400 projects have been approved by the NDA government in two-and-a-half years as compared to 260 by the UPA government in five years.

The rejection rate fell from 11.9% to 0.01% in the same period indicating that projects in green habitats have suddenly become feasible.

The CSE had said the ministry has introduced new norms to control pollution from these projects but panel members have expressed concern over monitoring its implementation.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/religion-animal-thirst-cited-as-reasons-to-approve-infra-projects-in-wildlife-areas/story-AMciYoDsv4RHPQVIhEHpFM.html