The Supreme Court on Monday sought a report from Ministry of Environment and Forest on whether the proposed cement plant of Nirma on the Saurashtra coastline would pollute or adversely affect the water body and the region.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia issued notice to the ministry, asking it to reply in a month’s time in response to an appeal filed by a group of farmers - Mahuva Bandhara Khetiwadi Pariyavaran Bachav Samittee against Gujarat high court’s (HC) decision. The plant has been proposed on the seashore of Mahuva in Bhavnagar district.
The farmers have been protesting the state government’s decision to allot a 268-hectare land to the company near a check dam and its huge water reservoir. As per recommendations by the government committee and upon the HC directions, the company has till date returned 100-hectare land back to the state government.
The farmers filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the HC, seeking direction to the state government to cancel the land allotment, claiming that it would adversely affect the local ecology and livelihoods of the farmers. They also claimed that out of total land allotted for cement plant, 222-hectare is part of the water body.
After surrendering 46-hectare, the company proposed before the HC to further surrender another 54-hectare land, which was accepted by the court and the PIL was dismissed by a division bench with certain conditions imposed upon the company. The HC also dismissed a review petition by farmers on the ground of plant’s possible impact on environment. SC also made an observation that if the report is negative, it could scrap the project.