Posts filed under ‘Industry, Economy and Environment’

OSPCB asks power plants to introduce high concentration slurry disposal system

Following report is from the TOI:

BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has asked power plant industries in the Sambalpur-Jharsuguda region to introduce High Concentration Slurry Disposal ( HCSD) system in an attempt to check the spreading of fly ash to other areas.

The fly ash, according to the new system, will have less water, to prevent spilling and flying of the ash. The decision of the board came after the violation of fly ash disposal by Bhushan Energy Limited (BEL) came to light.

“The ash released from the power plants to the ash ponds used to contain 90 per cent water, which was taking more space of the pond. According to the new system, industries have been asked to use 40 per cent water. So, there will be less dilution of ash and more solidification,” said regional officer of the board Sitikantha Sahu. He said the concentrated ash would get dried up easily, preventing a spill over.

The power plants release ash through elector static precipitator to the designated pond in the form of slurry. “Power plants require a huge amount of water. The new system will not only conserve water, but will save nearby agricultural lands from getting damaged due to spilling of fly ash,” said senior scientist of the board D K Behera. There are six mega power plants in Sambalpur-Jharsuguda belt. A recent OSPCB survey revealed that only 54% of the total ash generated from industries in the state is being utilized. “Lack of proper use of fly ash is not only damaging lakhs of acres of farm lands in the state, it is posing danger to water and aquatic life,” said Behera.

December 8, 2013 at 2:29 am Leave a comment

Vedanta to source bauxite from L&T mines

Following report is from TOI:

BHAWANIPATNA: The Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) is hoping to tide over its raw material crisis at its refinery and smelter units in the state following the state government’s assurance to consider the possibility of bauxite supply from two mines allotted to Larsen and Toubro (L&T).

The move comes over three months after gram sabhas in Rayagada and Kalahandi rejected Vedanta’s bid to mine Niyamgiri bauxite reserves for its refinery.

On Tuesday, Vedanta group chairman Anil Agarwal following a meeting chief minister Naveen Patnaik said the CM assured bauxite for the company’s refinery project at Langigarh in Kalahandi district from L&T’s reserves. In the early 1990s, L&T got prospecting licence for Sijimali and Kutrumali mines, with a combined deposit of about 300 million tonne, in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts respectively. But the state government had then denied mining lease (ML) to it on the ground that the company no end-use plant.

L&T’s executive chairman A M Naik, who was present at the meeting with CM, said his company had signed an MoU with Vedanta for the Rs 12,000 crore joint venture project.

Official sources said the state government has to recommend to the Centre to give ML in favour of L&T so that bauxite could be sourced from the two mines for Vedanta’s refinery. VAL has a smelter plant in Jharsuguda.

    Vedanta sources said the company has assured the state government of value addition in the form of alumina and aluminium if bauxite is sourced from Sijimali and Kutrumali through L&T.

November 30, 2013 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Jharsuguda will be the highest electrical power producing town of India

Following report is from The Samaj:

August 7, 2010 at 10:34 am 1 comment

Centre to set up a Mineral Regulation Authority: Moily

Following is a report by PTI published in Zee news:

Bangalore: With the illegal mining issue in the spotlight, the Centre on Saturday said it is planning to set up an authority to check the menace.

A Group of Ministers discussed at a meeting in Delhi yesterday outlines of the proposed Mineral Regulation Authority and the powers to be vested with it to deal with illegal mining, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said here.

“We have discussed it. There are lot of issues to be looked into,” he told reporters, refusing to commit himself to a timeframe to introduce a bill in Parliament for establishing the authority.

When set up the authority would have powers to regulate mining, granting of mining leases and filing of cases against violators, as a deterrent against illegal mining of minerals.

Moily slammed the Karnataka government for not checking illegal mining and illegal exports of minerals, saying “it is unfortunate though the Centre has given all the powers to states, it has not been exercised”.

“They have failed to prevent illegal mining and regulate mining activity,” he said.

Meanwhile, stepping up its attack, Congress demanded resignation of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa for his government’s “failure” to check illegal mining and illegal export of iron ore in the state.

 “They have no right to govern even for a minute,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi told reporters here, claiming that in a span of three months from January about 3.5 lakh tonne of iron ore was illegally exported from the state ports “and that too under the nose of the chief minister”.

Ridiculing the measures announced by the Karnataka government in ordering closure of 10 ports and ban on issue of transport permits to check illegal exports, he said “they are closing the door after allowing horse to escape”.

Reiterating his party’s demand for a CBI probe into illegal mining, he said “Why don’t they file a simple FIR and transfer it to CBI? It is a nonsensical drama they are enacting.”

Yeddyurappa has rejected the demand for a CBI probe by the state Congress which is now on a 320 km padayatra, to mine-rich Bellary district to protest illegal mining.

To a question, Singhvi said, “If Congress leaders are involved in illegal mining, let them be punished. We are not holding brief for anyone.” 

August 1, 2010 at 9:47 am Leave a comment

Indian environment ministry puts on hold Vedanta varsity in Orissa:IANS

Following is a report by IANS published in http://www.thaindian.com:

New Delhi, May 11 (IANS) The environment ministry Tuesday put on hold construction of the Rs.150 billion Vedanta University in Orissa by the Anil Agarwal Foundation following complaints of irregularities.
The ministry said it had received information alleging irregularities and “illegal, unethical and unlawful deeds” by the foundation.

It said serious objections raised during the Orissa Coastal Zone Management Authority meeting were not appropriately considered while granting coastal regulation zone (CRZ) and environmental clearances.

“The above issues are relevant and important and predict a detailed examination. I have been directed to inform you that the environmental and CRZ clearances issued on April 16, 2010 shall be kept in abeyance till a final decision in the matter is taken by the ministry,” said Bharat Bhushan, director in the ministry, in a letter to the foundation.

The ministry asked the company not to proceed with any construction or development works till a detailed examination of all the issues raised are examined by its Expert Appraisal Committee.

The Anil Agarwal foundation is promoted by NRI billionaire and chairman of Vedanta Resources, Anil Agarwal.

It has proposed to set up the multi-disciplinary Vedanta University over 6,000 acres of land near the Konark-Puri marine drive, some 60 km from the state capital Bhubaneswar.

This not-for-profit university has been envisaged as one-of-its-kind institution for quality higher education and cutting-edge research in 95 disciplines for 100,000 students.

May 11, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

RCDC introduced defluoridation technology in Raipali village, Balangir, Western Orissa

May 8, 2010 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

Hirakud Dam related news:India needs bill on dam safety – and fast

Following is a report by IANS taken from Yahoo news:

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) With India having over 4,700 dams – the third largest number in the world – of which about 100 are more than a century old, a parliamentary panel has suggested the expeditious legislation concerning dam safety.

The Standing Committee on Water Resources, in its report submitted to parliament, said the government should introduce the Dam Safety Bill, 2010 in the budget session.

It said the legislation will help states adopt uniform dam safety norms and provide for proper surveillance, inspection and maintenance of dams of certain parameters.

The committee, headed by Beni Prasad Verma, said the ministry of water resources (MoWR) had informed it that the bill was expected to be introduced in the budget session. The Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal assemblies have passed resolutions empowering parliament to pass the dam safety bill.

According to the National Register of Large Dams, the country has 4,711 completed dams while around 390 are under construction.

Pointing out that there were 477 projects that had spilled over to the 11th Five Year Plan, the committee said some of these have been under execution for the past 50 years or more.

‘The committee desires that the MoWR should take concrete steps so that the spilled over projects, particularly of distant Five Year Plans, are completed during the Eleventh Plan period,’ the report said.

Expressing concern over the ‘tardy pace of execution’ of structures for artificial recharge of water, the committee said the MoWR should pursue the matter with greater vigour with states.

‘Against a target of 794 artificial recharge structures during the 11th Plan, only 121 structures have been completed whereas half the term of the plan is over,’ the committee noted.

It expressed unhappiness over non-achievement of targets for irrigation potential under the ambitious Bharat Nirman programme of the government.

Against the aim of creating irrigation potential of 10 million hectares (Mha) in four years (2005-06 to 2008-09), 7.31 Mha was created till March 2009, the committee said.

The need for legislation has been repeatedly emphasised by the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS), set up in 1987 with the membership of all states and organisations having a significant number of large dams.

While maintenance of the dams is the responsibility of the state governments and dam owners, a Dam Safety Organisation (DSO) was established at the Central Water Commission in May 1979 to develop guidelines for inspection of dams, check lists and other dam safety literature which has also been provided to the states.

The committee also said all information relating to water flow, contamination of surface and groundwater should be collated and ‘put under a suitable template for easy access of all’.

The report of the committee was presented to the Lok Sabha April 20 and tabled in the Rajya Sabha the same day.

May 8, 2010 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das raises Niyamgiri mining issue in the Parliament

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

Kalahandi Congress MP Bhakta Charan Das has yet again voiced on the Niyamgiri mining issue in the Parliament urging the Union Government not to give forest clearance saying that the Government of Odisha may be asked to go for other substitute.

He was participating in a debate on the National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009 on April 30 where he expressed his support on the Bill and said that the UPA Government has brought the bill in the interest of environment and the suffering tribal populace dwelling in the forest region.

Bhakta said that the Bill clearly states that the decision would be taken by the majority and naturally when the majority takes the decision, nobody can tamper the decisions taken in the interest of the environment.

Expressing concerns about the climate change, he also voiced against the relentless mining where no compensatory plantations have been done so far following which the ecological imbalance has gone to the extent of causing global warming.

He accused the State Government and private companies of series of violations in this regard saying he had recently pointed out some of the violations committed by the companies to the Environment and Forests Minister for which the Minister has taken the matter seriously and not yet given clearance for mining bauxite in Niyamgiri hill.

Expressing the situation of Niyamgiri hill, he said that about 8,000 primitive tribals and more than a lakh of people sustain their livelihood out of traditional earnings from the forest region spread over 240 sq km in Raygada, Gajapati and Kalahandi districts of Odisha which is having 26,000 plants, lots of animals and medicinal plants.

He also alleged that a large number of trees have been felled in Odisha during the last ten years and the environmental damage is caused to the highest extent by the State Government. “Our tribal people could not make any appeal before anybody,” he quipped.

Supporting the bill, he said the tribal have got their rights now to make an appeal before the Tribunal to save their forests, sustainability and future.

May 7, 2010 at 6:10 pm 3 comments

Orissa mining scam update: ‘Govt at fault for allowing illegal mining’; A report from the Indian express

Following is a report from http://www.indianexpress.com:

In a clear damnation of the Orissa government, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court hearing into the allegation of forest law violations in multi-crore mining scam in the State, has said that mining activities were going on in a large number of the mines in Orissa without the requisite approvals under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, Environmental Clearances, and the Air & Water Acts. The mining activities also exceeded the production limit as approved under the Mining Plans.

In December last year, senior journalist Rabi Das had filed a case before the CEC regarding the alleged Illegal mining in the lapsed/invalid mining leases/areas in Orissa seeking appointment of a Commission to investigate and study the modalities of the illegal machinations, fix responsibility on individuals (in Government and outside it) and recommendation of remedial measures. The state has so far granted 596 mining leases for extraction of different kinds of minerals. Of this, 341 mines are operating while the remaining 255 are non working/lapsed mines.

The interim report prepared by CEC member MK Jiwrajka on April 26, also said that a large number of the mines have remained operational for long periods of time after the expiry of the lease period because of the delays in taking decisions on the renewal applications filed by the respective mining lease holders and consequently the mines becoming eligible for ‘deemed extension’ as provided under Rule 24 A(6), MCR, 1960. The CEC said that as many as 215 mines were operative for 10 to 20 years on deemed renewal status.

he major findings of the CEC are:

* In a large number of cases the forest areas approved under the FC Act are lesser than the total forest area included in the approved mining leases.

* There was lack of effective coordination and common understanding between the officials of the Mines Department and the Forest Department resulting in the ineffective enforcement of the statutory provisions.

* The “deemed extension” clause is primarily meant to deal with contingency situation and to ensuring that the mining operations do not come to an abrupt end because of administrative delays in deciding on the renewal applications. This provision is not meant to be availed of indefinitely. Moreover, continuing mining over a long period of time without renewal of the mining lease becomes a potential source for serious illegalities and irregularities.

* Nine coal mines, belonging to the Mahanadi Coal Field Ltd, a subsidiary of the Coal India Ltd.(CIL), operating without obtaining the approval under the FC Act on the purported ground that the mining leases have been transferred to them by the CIL during 1990-92 after the promulgation of the Coal India (Regulation, Transfer and Validation) Act, 2002.

The provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act are equally applicable to such forest areas and are required to be complied with. All the other similarly placed coal companies, such as the WCL and the SECL have at the time of the renewals/new mining leases been obtaining the approvals under the FC Act. It is therefore imperative that in respect of these nine leases also, the approvals under the FC Act are obtained by the Mahanadi Coal Fields Limited after following the prescribed procedure. It is recommended that, as was earlier permitted in the case of WCL, SECL and the other coal companies, subject to the payment of the NPV for the forest land included in these nine mining leases, the Mahanadi Coal Fields may be allowed to continue mining for the next 1 year during which period they should obtain approval under the FC Act and failing which the mines should be closed; and

The committee recommended that the applications filed for the renewal of the mining leases are decided by the State of Orissa in a time-bound manner. The concerned lessee should be required to provide to the State Government , within a reasonable period, copies of the approvals under the FC Act, Environmental Clearances, No objection of the State Pollution Control Board under the Air and Water Acts and the Mining Plan duly approved by the Indian Bureau of Mines/other competent authority. This will ensure that the mining operations under the ‘deemed extension’ clause do not continue for an indefinite period. In respect of the mining leases for which the renewal applications are pending with the State Government, the status and the reasons for the pendency for each of the mining leases (as at present) should be provided by the State Government;

The CEC in its report also recommended that all the mining lease holders in Orissa should be directed to pay the NPV for the entire forest area, included in the mining leases. It said demand for the payment of the NPV should be raised by the Divisional Forest Officer concerned within a maximum period of 30 days and the mining lease holder should deposit the amount payable towards the NPV (for the balance forest area) within a period of 30 days thereafter failing which the mine should not be allowed to continue its operations.

In Orissa, substantial areas included in the mining leases as non forest land have subsequently been identified as DLC forest (deemed forest / forest like areas) by the Expert Committee constituted by the State Government pursuant to the SC order dated 12.12.1996. While processing and/or approving the proposals under the FC Act in many cases such areas have been treated as non-forest land. The CEC recommended that the NPV for the entire DLC area included in the mining lease, after deducting the NPV already paid, should be deposited by the concerned lease holder.

Expressing partial satisfaction with the steps taken by the State, the CEC noted that “serious shortcomings still remain which need to be dealt with on priority so as to ensure the strict compliance of the provisions of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Environmental Protection Act and the other statutory provisions and Rules.”

The next hearing of the case would be taken up on May 7.

April 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm Leave a comment

The Orissa state pollution control board clears Vedanta refinery at Lanjigarh

Following is a report from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com:

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa state pollution control board has given a clean chit to Vedanta’s alumina refinery in the state’s Kalahandi district after conducting checks in the areas near the plant, an official said on Thursday.

 

The board had launched a probe after series of allegations made by some individuals and organisations in January this year, claiming at least 100 people died of tuberculosis over the past few years by the pollution caused by the plant at Lanjigarh, some 500 km from here.

A delegation led by local tribal leader Sridhar Pesnia in January submitted a memorandum to the state government, alleging the deaths of cattle and birds in the area.

A team of scientists from the board made an on-the-spot enquiry last month and collected data and samples from different sources, including data from local health department, a senior official of the board said.

“As per the report the scientists submitted, only one death has occurred – in 2006 – due to tuberculosis in the periphery area of the refinery between 2002 and 2010,” he said.

The team analysed the water samples from the river, streams and tubewell from various locations around the plant and found that the pollution in surrounding surface and ground water remained within acceptable limits.

April 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm Leave a comment

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