The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday admitted a batch of public interest litigations moved against expansion of the Dalmia Cement factory and establishment of a captive thermal power plantin Dalmiapuram near Tiruchi. Adjourning the matter to July 13 for final hearing, a Division Bench comprising Justice K.P. Sivasubramaniam and Justice S.K. Krishnan made it clear that any further construction in the site would depend on ultimate outcome of the case.
Two litigants, V. Subbiah and P. Gajapathi, from Chennai, had moved four petitions seeking to stay the expansion project. They alleged that the hasty grant of environmental clearance had led to a major accident in the project site on May 28 claiming 13 lives. Pointing out that the factory was already a hazard to environment as it emits liquid effluents, the petitioners stated that the expansion would prove detrimental to the health of local inhabitants.
The litigants brought it to the notice of the court that a 1994 notification issued under the Environment (Protection) Act made it obligatory for any project expansion above Rs.50 crores to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment, an Environment Management Plan and a project report to an Impact Assessment Agency for clearance, apart from conducting public hearings.