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Indian Express, Ahmedabad, 5 March 2013

Activists have sent legal notices to various authorities, including Minister of Environment & Forests Jayanthi Natarajan, for proceeding with the public hearing for the nuclear power plant even as the consultant for the project is not properly accredited.

“If the Environment Public Hearing dated March 5 of proposed nuclear power plant at Mithi Virdi is not cancelled as well as the incomplete, illegal EIA prepared by a non-accredited consultant be rejected, we will be left with no choice but to take legal action against you as an individual and the concerned authorities,” the activists, under the umbrella of Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, said in the notice.

The had reported earlier that the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) had asked project proponent Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to clarify why it had hired a consultant not fully accredited to assess nuclear power plants to draw up the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the 6,000 MW project.

The consultants, Engineers India Limited (EIL), had clarified they have applied for accreditation with QCI-NABET, the accrediting agency. No change in schedule was considered after that.

Activists and protesters have not been convinced of the report’s reliability and have “picked holes” in the report. They have sent at least five different letters regarding this to the authorities, asking the public hearing be either cancelled or postponed and the draft EIA report withdrawn. They are yet to get a response, they said.

The GPCB maintains that the contested report is only a draft report and that the board’s role is merely to help the district collector conduct the public hearing, record the proceedings and forward it to the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

he plant at Mithi Virdi will be the country’s first nuclear power plant to use US technology and is a maiden project under the Indo-US civil nuclear agreement.

Local opposition against the project has mounted since the Fukushima disaster in Japan as well as by the site selection — almost four-fifths of the 777 hectares earmarked for the project site is fertile agricultural land producing both kharif and rabi crops.

 

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