Joint committee report regarding violations of environmental norms in transportation of coal from Kulda coal mine, 29/11/2022

Action taken report of the Joint Committee constituted under the direction of the National Green Tribunal in the Original Application No. 236/2022.

The NGT, March 30, 2022 had directed a joint committee to ascertain the facts relating to violations of the environmental norms in transportation of coal from Kulda coal mine in Odisha to Tamnar in Chhattisgarh.

In this regard, a field inspection was conducted by Joint Committee on May 27, 2022 in and around the alleged site and road used for transportation, to verify the facts of the matter of media report regarding allegation of violation of environment norms (particularly the EC conditions) for operations of Kulda Coal Mine, Odisha and Tamnar Thermal Plant, Chhattisgarh.

A meeting was held August 16, 2022 between the Chief Secretaries of Chhattisgarh and Odisha to formulate an action plan in the matter.

In the meeting, the Chief Secretary, Odisha, emphasized that the road in issue needs to be properly completed at the earliest in accordance with the court's order and asked the  District Magistrate, Sundargarh to find an alternate road so that without any hindrance the road can be completed at the earliest.

The District Magistrate, Sundargarh said that he has already identified an alternative road but that needs construction and maintenance. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited assured to take the required actions to make the alternate road motorable (approximately 15 kilometers) at the earliest.

The Chief Secretaries of Odisha and Chhattisgarh agreed on the formation of a Joint monitoring committees for both states presided by the concerned District Magistrate with representatives from the state pollution control board, MCL and other user agencies.

The Chief Secretary, Odisha, insisted upon transportation of coal through conveyor belts and rail. According to the MCL representative, transporting coal by rail is more expensive, hence most project proponents choose the road in the eauction.

The Member Secretary CPCB, said as the villagers may have suffered from ailments as a result of the pollution from the transportation of coal, the project's proponents are liable to pay the costs associated with study and mitigation measures.