HYDERABAD: Two proposals seeking environmental clearance for expansion of coal mines in Khammam and Peddapalli districts by the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) were recently shot down by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests’ Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) for environmental appraisal of coal mining projects, due to violation of environmental laws.
In an embarrassment to the SCCL, the EAC in its meeting held this month denied proposal by SCCL for expansion of a cluster of coal mines in Godavarikhani of Peddapalli district. The EAC asked the SCCL to ‘apply mind’ and read the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment notification, 2006 before applying for clearances.
Minutes of the EAC meeting say, “The Committee noted that the Project Proponent/Consultant shall apply his mind before submission of such premature proposal.”The EAC pointed out that the proposal involves violation of excess production of coal than the allowed limit, on which action taken by the state government is also required to be submitted by the SCCL, which it did not.
Another proposal for environmental clearance by the SCCL that was declined by the EAC, was for expansion of the Jalagam Vengalrao Opencast-II mine in Kommepalli village of Sathupalli mandal in Khammam district. According to the minutes of meeting, the EAC communicated that the SCCL shall not apply such proposal again and returned the proposal as it is.
Such a sharp reaction was communicated by the EAC because as per the minutes of meeting, the SCCL had applied for environmental clearance for expansion of the mine, despite violation of environmental laws in the mine being brought to the fore that are presently being processed by the Ministry.
The minutes of meeting says that since September 1, 2017 coal is being transported by road from the said mine, even though one of the clauses of the environmental clearance granted to the mine clearly prohibits it. Moreover the file regarding this environmental violation is being processed at the MoEF’s Monitoring Cell and that there is no point until it is processed.