A private complaint was filed before the Lokayukta Court on Friday alleging irregularities in granting permission for setting up of a sugar factory (for crushing cane and generating additional power) in Hatna and Kalingahalli villages in Mandya district.
The complainant, G Nanjaapa, alleged that the KSPCB chairman Dr Vaman Acharya and Senior Environment Officer (KSPCB) K M Lingaraju had illegally granted permission for setting of Prem Sugars and Chemicals Corporation Ltd (PSCCL). PSCCL MD Hari Mohan Naidu, has been named the third accused.
According to the KSPCB Act, Consent for Establishment (CFE) has to be obtained prior to setting up an industry, operation or a process and Consent for Operation (CFO) has to be obtained prior to commissioning of an industry and for continuation of discharge of emission and effluents or for expansion of existing industry.
The complainant stated that the Board had earlier refused to grant permission to the said company on environmental grounds before Acharya took charge as chairman. He sought to investigate the case under Prevention of Corruption Act. The Board had earlier refused consent for setting up the proposed sugar plant with sugarcane crushing capacity of 3,500 tons of sugarcane, co-generation plant of 15 MW and sugar refinery of 500 tons per day by the said company. “In this case, having verified KSPCB log book, it is clear that its officials issued CFE for five years without having visited the place,” Nanjappa said.
According to the complaint, the company is planning to set up a factory in environmentally hazardous zone, located in the catchment area of Marconahally Dam, which supplies drinking water to villages of Kunigal taluk. “Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Ltd had laid pipelines for providing water for agriculture purpose in the region and had objected to setting up of the industrial town. Despite this, KSPCB has now accorded permission for the project. The accused have colluded with businessmen for pecuniary gains,” he added.
However, speaking to Express, Acharya said: “We had sanctioned only for additional power generation, while they already had the permission for setting up the plant. It is not necessary that we have to visit the site for sanctioning the additional capacity. Based on the direction of the regional officer in the concerned location we have accorded permission,” he said.