The National Green Tribunal has restrained the project proponents of the proposed Cheyyur Ultra Mega Power Project in Kancheepuram off the East Coast Road from finalising bids for the works until further orders.
The coal jetty for the 4,000 MW power project was challenged by two residents of Panaiyur in July this year after an environment clearance was granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests last November.
A number of alleged anomalies were pointed out by the petitioners, including the fact that separate Environment Impact Assessments (EIA) were conducted for the coal jetty and power project, which would be separated by a 5 kilometre distance.
This meant that the cumulative impact of the projects were not known.
When the matter came up for hearing on Thursday, the Union Ministry sought further time from the tribunal for filing a reply. While this was granted, the lawyer for the petitioners, D Nagasaila, said that the project proponents, Coastal Tamil Nadu Power Limited, have gone ahead with the process of finalising bids for the works on the power project. While the proponents have sought ECs separately for the coal jetty and the power plant, the bids though have been integrated. This bidding process had to be restrained as the award of contract would bring into the litigation a third party and will lead to cycle of further litigation.
Passing orders, the southern bench comprising judicial member Justice M Chockalingam and expert member Professor R Nagendran said that given that the EC for the coal jetty is under challenge, it would not be worthwhile to allow the project proponents to carry out further actions in the bidding process.
“Hence, the respondent 4 (project proponents) is restrained from giving any final award for any part of the work to a third party until further orders,” the bench said.