Blame game over Himachal power plant ordered to be razedMay 20th, 2012 - 6:06 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, May 20 (IANS) A Himachal Pradesh High Court direction to dismantle a private firm’s thermal power plant in Solan district over green concerns appears to have given political ammunition to both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the opposition Congress ahead of the assembly polls later this year.
The court May 4 struck down the thermal power plant at Bagheri cement plant of infrastructure conglomerate Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL), triggering a blame game between the BJP and the Congress on accusing successive state governments headed by the rival party for allowing the environmental violations at the plant.
Union minister and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh of the Congress told IANS here Sunday: “It’s the present BJP government which reversed his government’s decision of not allowing a 25 MW captive thermal power plant” which was supposed to be part of the Bagheri cement plant.
He was reacting to the recent statement of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal of the BJP holding the previous Congress government responsible for the alleged environmental violations at the plant.
“Even the court judgment has mentioned about my government’s decision to withdraw environment clearance,” said Virbhadra Singh.
The green bench of the high court in its judgment against the power plant also imposed a penalty of Rs.100 crore on JAL as environmental damage cost for violation of the norms.
The court ordered the dismantling of the captive thermal power plant within three months. In response to the court order, JAL issued a statement pointing that the company had dropped the idea of setting up a captive power plant at Bagheri much before the court order.
Dhumal blamed the union environment and forests ministry for allowing the company to set up the thermal power plant on the premises of the cement plant.
Official sources said politicians belonging to both the Congress and the BJP should be held guilty as the company took permission from the government of the day at various stages for setting up of the cement plant.
After the judgment, Dhumal told the reporters that his government, which came to power in December 2007, gave permission for setting up the captive thermal power plant in accordance with the policy of the central government.
He said his government had informed the union environment and forests ministry about the opposition of the local people to the thermal power plant but the expert appraisal committee of central ministry did not take much notice of it and gave clearance to a truncated project.
A state government official said the Congress government in 2007 took a decision not to allow any thermal power plant in the state. But the BJP government which succeeded it changed the policy and allowed setting up of thermal power plants in 2008.
“JAL initiated the process of setting up the thermal power plant only when it was allowed by the relevant government policies. So how can politicians run away from sharing the blame for the permission to set up the thermal power plant,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
Virbhadra Singh said the present BJP-led state government not only changed the policy of not allowing thermal power plants but also allowed JAL to enhance its plant capacity up to 60 MW.
NGO Himprivesh, on whose public interest litigation the high court ordered the JAL to dismantle the thermal power plant, said in statement issued in Nalagarh town May 17 that the company had started the construction of the thermal plant but since it did not get the environmental clearance, it seemed the company shifted the plant equipment to somewhere else in 2009.
- Congress extended favours to Jaiprakash Associates: Dhumal - May 07, 2012
- Centre ignored protests over cement plant in 2004: Dhumal - May 13, 2012
- Firm fined Rs.100 crore for violating environmental laws - May 04, 2012
- Himachal greens upbeat over 'environmental justice' - May 06, 2012
- Action only after studying court judgment: Jaiprakash Associates - May 05, 2012
- No-trust motion against Dhumal defeated in Himachal (Lead) - Aug 29, 2012
- Firm fined Rs.100 crore in Himachal, files review petition - Jun 01, 2012
- Himachal court dismisses cement firm's petitions - Jul 06, 2012
- 'Himachal on Sale' say BJP, Congress (Himachal Pradesh Newsletter) - Sep 14, 2012
- Himachal court cancels green nod for cement unit - Dec 13, 2010
- Nirma's cement plant could be shifted: Environment ministry - May 10, 2011
- Himachal favouring business group, says Congress - Apr 04, 2011
- GIL seeks land to set up captive thermal plant - Jul 25, 2011
- Visa Power faces court case for illegal construction - Sep 08, 2011
- Himachal Congress gives 'charge sheet' against BJP regime - Aug 23, 2012
Tags: bjp government, captive power plant, cement plant, chief minister, conglomerate, congress government, court direction, court judgment, crore, environment clearance, environmental damage, green bench, himachal pradesh, jal, opposition congress, political ammunition, private firm, state governments, thermal power plant, union minister