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"Two completely different rivers to be dammed. Two completely different types of dams. Two completely different forest types to be submerged. And, two completely different locations. Yet the Rapid Environment Impact Assessments for both proposed projects are identical. Word for word, para to para, section to section, and, except a few minor differences, the villages, the species, the climatalogical data, the water and soil analysis, the sampling stations, are
all absolutely the same. How is this possible?"

ESG's Leo Saldanha suggests that the idea was to arrange quick environment clearance. The Murdeshwar Power Corporation Ltd was assured by the government of early clearance if it furnished an environmental impact assessment. Ernst & Young promised to deliver this, at a cost, and did so in a matter of days. It was submitted the same month, June 2000.


Outraged at the
fraud of this magnitude, the
ESG has ordered
a judicial enquiry
into the incident to
pin responsibility within the
government
for allowing
this fraud


It apparently plagiarised the Rapid Environment Impact Assessment of the Tattihalla project, which is proposed about 90 miles away, across the Bedthi river. According to the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, environmental clearances for the project have to be given on the basis of an Environmental Public Hearing conducted by the Karnataka State Pollution
Control Board and the Karnataka Environment Department. The Karnataka Forest Department, the Karnataka Industries Department, the Union Ministry
for Environment and Forests, and the Union Ministry
for Power, have also clear the project.

ESG's statement says that, excepting five pages that describe the Dandeli project, the 65-page assessment prepared by Ernst & Young is a copy of the assessment of the Tattihalla project. The Dandeli project was not even proposed when studies for the Tattihalla project were conducted in September 1999

Outraged at the fraud of this magnitude, the ESG
has ordered a judicial enquiry into the incident to
pin responsibility within the government for allowing
this fraud. To save the environment assessment report from becoming a hive of scandal, the ESG has also demanded that the government must take immediate note of this act of fraud, and should ban Errnst
and Young as EIA consultant in India.
 
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