Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Nirma plant: SC defers hearing on farmers’ appeals

The Supreme Court on Monday deferred its hearing on appeals against construction of Nirma Ltd’s cement plant near Mahuva’s coastline and asked the Gujarat High Court to dispose of the review petition filed by the farmers.
Requesting the high court for speedy hearing of the review petition, a bench comprising Chief Justice SH Kapadia, Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar has kept hearing on appeals after four weeks. A division bench in the HC last week adjourned the review petition till the SC hears the case.

Shree Mahuva Bandhara Khetiwadi Pariyavaran Bachav Samittee, whose PIL against construction of Nirma’s cement plant near a reservoir was dismissed by the HC earlier, has sought review of the court’s order on various grounds. The HC had asked Nirma to surrender 46 hectare land back to the government and gave a green signal to the construction. The court had imposed certain conditions on the company to protect the reservoir.
Claiming that “mistake” and “sufficient reasons” can be the basis of review of any order, the farmers have claimed that the HC did not took into account their arguments regarding faulty environment clearance on part of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board as well as by the Ministry of Forest and Environment.
“Environmental clearance has been granted on a wrong foundation that the land that is allotted to Nirma Ltd is a waste land or gauchar land. GPCB has provided every assistance to the company in persuading the union ministry in favour of Nirma in this regard,” the review petition said. The review petition has also contended that permitting the cement plant near the water body would nothing but violation of local people’s rights.
Earlier, the company had surrendered 54 hectare land as per recommendations of a Kalpasar committee. The land has been surrendered by the company on opposition by the farmers to the plant. They have been claiming that the plant was located on a reservoir created by west-weir to stop salinity ingress.

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