Work started without environmental clearance
AN 18 hectare plot straddling lychees orchards and farms in Chainpur village of Muzaffarpur district is in the midst of a dispute.
A company, Balmukund Cement and Roofing Ltd, is constructing an asbestos fibre and cement roofing plant on the land. Villagers nearby are opposing it saying the company bought land from them on the pretext of building a farmhouse but started constructing the factory. They termed the construction illegal as the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has not given environmental clearance to the project and the mandatory public hearing is yet to be held.
The start of work is a violation of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006, said Umesh Prasad Singh, a lawyer in Muzaffarpur. The notification says a project proponent cannot start construction or development without environmental clearance.
Public hearing venue shifted
Work started at the site in January whereas the MoEF has issued only the terms of reference (ToR) for the project’s EIA, in February 2010. Nonetheless, the Bihar state pollution control board (BSPCB) gave its nod to the project through a consent to establish. Manoj Kumar Singh, member secretary of BSPCB, said it is the ministry that has to take a stand on the illegal construction. The villagers’ anger was aggravated when they saw a newspaper notice issued by BSPCB. It said the public hearing for the project would be held on May 29 at a temple 27 km from the site.
|Villagers say the district magistrate
Anand Kishore has done his job; it is now MoEF’s turn to
stop the illegal
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