Environment Support Group Parisara Samrakshana Kendra

S-3, Rajashree Apartments, 18/57, Hulemalgi Building, Chowkimath

1st Main Road, S. R. K. Gardens, Sirsi (Uttara Kannada Dt.),

Jayanagar, Bannerghatta Road, Karnataka 581401

Bangalore 560 041. INDIA Tel: 91-8384-25139

Telefax: 91-80-6341977 Fax: 91-8384-27839

Email: esg@bgl.vsnl.net.in Email: appiko@vsnl.com

Website: http://www.altindia.net/esg/index.htm

08 December 2000

PRESS RELEASE

Dandeli Dam Public Hearing Postponed

2nd Fraudulent EIA - Government must Reject MPC Project

 

The Scheduled Environmental Public Hearing on the Dandeli Dam proposed across River Kali by Murdeshwar Power Corporation (MPC) was postponed by the Deputy Commissioner of Uttara Kannada District on the grounds that the Panel was incomplete. Over 300 people who had gathered at Dandeli in response to a Notification of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board were thus denied the opportunity of being heard.

 

13 members of the 15 member panel constituted to oversee the Hearing proceedings failed to turn up, even when six were from the local area and others were government officials. That such a crucial Statutory Hearing should be postponed at a great cost to the public exchequer and without attaching any importance to hardships faced by people gathered from far and wide, and on the grounds that the quorum was not adequate, is a matter that must not be viewed lightly. The DC must thoroughly investigate the reasons why the Panel was not present and make his report public.

 

Outside the venue, workers of the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd. demanded that the project must not be given to the private entity, MPC, as it was originally conceived by KPCL, and belonged to them. They attributed various reasons, including complicity at high levels, for the Government of Karnataka handing over this project to MPC. Of those who managed to raise their concerns over the din, complained that persons known to have an opinion critical of the project were threatened with dire consequences by men owing allegiance to the Project Developer. In fact the local villages that are directly affected were afraid of participating in the proceedings due to such threats, it was stated.

 

In our Press Release of 5th November 2000 (available with us on request or at http://web.estart.com/~esg), we had demanded that yesterday's Hearing should be postponed indefinitely, as the EIA forming the basis of discussion, prepared by Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI, www.teriin.org), was based on data that was "secondary and spurious". Considering yesterday's events, and the manner in which the Hearing has been postponed, the Government of Karnataka must clarify if this was an attempt to avoid embarrassment, having been exposed earlier in August of supporting the same project through environmental clearances, based on a plagiarised EIA produced by the international consulting firm Ernst and Young (recently allied with Cap Gemini).

 

Whatever the explanations for yesterday's events, the Karnataka Government is now bound to comply with Sec 4 of the Environment Impact Assessment Notification (1994)of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (available online at http://envfor.nic.in/) which reads:

"4. Concealing factual data or submission of false, misleading data/reports, decisions or recommendations would lead to the project being rejected. Approval, if granted earlier on the basis of false data would also be revoked. Misleading and wrong information will cover the following:

n       False information.

n       False data.

n       Engineered reports.

n       Concealing of factual data.

n       False recommendations or decisions"

 

Murdeshwar Power Corporation, in its attempt to get its Rs. 180 crore dam project cleared as part of the Karnataka Government's Global Investors Meet, ironically held on World Environment Day this year, has attempted to secure environmental clearances,

       First based on a plagiarised EIA prepared by Ernst and Young, produced even before the project was officially sanctioned on July 7th, and now,

       producing an EIA prepared by TERI, that contains "misleading and wrong information" which was produced in a record time of a month!

 

There is thus no option but for the Central and Karnataka Government to reject the project application in accordance with the EIA Notification. Further, there is now an heightened need to find out what conspired in attempting to push environmental clearances for the MPC project. To unravel which we reiterate our original demand for a judicial enquiry into this project and the process of its clearances. Only by such an independent enquiry can those guilty of complicity in violating basic precepts of environmental law be exposed.

 

 

 

Leo F. Saldanha/Bhargavi S. Rao Pandurang Hegde/Balachandra Hegde

Environment Support Group Parisara Samrakshana Kendra

Bangalore Sirsi