NTCA visits Tiroda
NAGPUR: Finally, Tiroda could see some hectic activities. A six-member joint committee of top state officials and National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) will visit Tiroda on June 22 to inspect 163.84 hectare forest land proposed to be diverted for Adani Power Maharashtra Limited (APML) for its power plant.
NTCA, a statutory body under the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), has expressed concern over diversion of the forest land as it forms the corridor between 257 sq km Pench Tiger Reserve in Nagpur and 152 sq km Nagzira Wildlife Sanctuary in Gondia. The panel will study the impact of land diversion on wildlife, particularly tigers.
NTCA will be represented by wildlife conservationist Kishor Rithe. On the direction of P B Gangopadhyay, additional director general of forests (forest conservation), chief wildlife warden, A K Joshi constituted a committee under him on June 11.
The other members of the panel are chief conservator of forests (CCF) for wildlife, Nandkishore, as member-secretary; CCF for Nagpur territorial circle, Krishna Mohan; deputy conservator of Gondia, Mukesh Ganatra and Prafulla Bhamburkar of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) as members. A meeting will also be held to discuss the issue at Bhandara at 10 am. The visit will follow thereafter.
Two separate offences - one on May 16 and another on June 4 - have already been registered by Tiroda RFO against Adani Power for violating the Forest Conservation Act (FCA) 1980 by digging huge trenches in survey number 163 in Mendipur, in the proposed forest land sought by Adani. However, permission has not been granted to divert the land as it forms part of the tiger corridor.
The APML was granted environment clearance for setting up a 1,320 mw (660mw x 2) coal-based thermal power project in Tiroda on May 29, 2008. The proposal was exempted from public hearing as it is located in the MIDC area. However, while according environmental clearance to the project, one of the conditions was to submit a plan for conservation of fauna reported in the study area. This was to be done in consultation with the wildlife department within three months and was to be implemented effectively.
Shockingly, the plan has not been submitted even after the lapse of 15 months. The company agreed to follow the condition only after August 14, 2009, that too because of CCF (Central), Bhopal, A K Rana’s visit to Nagpur.
Documents sought under the RTI Act show that APML had applied for expansion of another 660 mw project for which another 192 hectare land was needed. Of this, 163.84 hectare is forest land. The MoEF on September 10, 2008, prescribed terms of reference (TOR) for preparing the draft EIA report for the expansion project.
The conditions of the TOR include whether the project is within ten kilometre of the sanctuary or falls in the migratory route; details of flora and fauna duly authenticated to be followed by a conservation plan. The company submitted a conservation plan, but CCF (wildlife) has picked up many flaws in it saying it was prepared without studying the impact area. The CCF (territorial), Nagpur, has already submitted the APML expansion project falls within the ten kilometre of the Nagzira sanctuary.
“Since phase I and phase II are located at the same place, the impact of these projects in the study area and subsequent mitigative measures need to be studied taking them together along with the further expansion of the power project. Unless the environmental clearance is accorded to the said project, forest clearance under the FCA should also be kept in abeyance,” the report submitted to chief wildlife warden by the CCF states.