in an unusual incident, Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd's public hearing in Raigarh was called off because "the company
was unable to adequately answer issues raised by the public". The company's plans to expand its iron and steel plant in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, has
further run into trouble with allegations of irregularities in environmental impact assessment (eia) report. New
Delhi-based Monnet runs a 0.3 million tonnes (mt) per annum integrated iron and steel plant in Raigarh. It wants to
increase the plant's capacity to 1.7 mt per annum.
Environmental activists say the eia does not take into account the environmental impacts of the existing plant. They say there are confusions galore because although the eia report is based on the "myth" that there is no plant, it has given the air pollution monitoring report based on the 0.3 mt per annum plant. "Monnet wants to deceive the moef for easier clearance and hence the application for a new plant. But the company cannot fool people in Raigarh by saying that the proposed plant is a new one. For them, it is a living reality," says Ramesh Agrawal of Jan Chetana, a local ngo. Legal hassles apart, the eia report is also an example of shoddy assessment, say experts. The proposed project will be located in a heavily forested area and along with biodiversity, it will impact the Singhanpur caves, famous for their rock paintings, less than a kilometre away.
As of now the project lies in limbo and the question is whether the regulatory system will be able to ensure that the clearance process is effective.
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