Environmentalists on Thursday urged the Environmental Appraisal Committee (EAC) not to give clearance to the Jindal Steel Works’s (JSWs) proposed steel plant in Odishas Jagatsinghpur district before an independent assessment is carried out to study the projects health impact.
The project must be approved by the EAC under Union Environment Ministry before it can proceed. Friday’s meeting of the panel will be for discussion about the steel plant.
They claimed that the proposed steel plant should not have clearance based upon the Environment Impact Assessment of the project, prepared by a private company engaged by JSW. The report was inaccurate.
Instead, they cited a report from the Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) that stated that the EIA failed to account for incremental particulate, mercury, and other heavy metals. The report also states that the steel plant would increase air pollution in the region, and cause severe health problems in the Paradip and Dhinkia areas.
Particulate matter, also known as PM, is an atmospheric pollutant that can cause health problems for people.
Based on the findings of CREA, six environmentalists wrote Dr Chhavi Pandey, EAC chairperson and addressed the letter to the 15-member committee.
“This is to bring to your notice that the EIA report prepared for the proposed JSW Utkal Steel Limited is nothing but to merely justify the project, rather assess the impact on the environment. There have been severe discrepancies while conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for JSW Utkal Steel Limited’s proposed project site near Paradip port in Jagatsinhpur district,” the letter said.
We have demanded an independent assessment based on understanding the comprehensive environment and health impacts of the proposed project on the surrounding areas, including human settlements, to be carried out before proceeding further,” Odisha-based environmentalist Prafulla Samantara, one of the signatories in the letter, said.
Locals also oppose the plan, claiming that the company is after their land and resources and that it will not benefit them.