The ruling BJP and opposition Congress in the state blamed each other for allowing the firm to flout norms and build an illegal Thermal Plant in Solan district. Blaming each other for granting huge concessions to Jai Prakash Industries for establishing thousands of crores of cement plants, thermal plants, universities and hydro electric projects in the hill State, the Bhartiya Janata Party and Congress on Saturday welcomed the High Court’s decision of imposing a penalty of Rs 100 crore for violating environmental norms and acquiring land by fraudulent means.
State BJP President Satpal Satti while addressing a press conference today said the entire 325 bighas of land for constructing a cement plant was acquired by the Jai Prakash Associates during the last Virbhadra led Congress government. The cement plant was constructed under the complete patronage of Congress government and the production started within two and half years.
The BJP government when came to power imposed a penalty of Rs 4.10 crore on the company and preferred not to discontinue the project since it had started providing direct and indirect employment to number of villagers there.
On the other hand the State Congress president Kaul Singh Thakur said that it was the BJP that had given the permission to initiate a thermal plant in the hill state and the earlier Congress government had cancelled the same request of the company. He welcomed the Court’s decision of ordering the company to dismantle the thermal plant within three months now.
He also said the BJP which was seeking benefits from the Jaypee associates for running Anurag Thakur led Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association, had allowed it to raise the capacity of Karcham Wangtoo Hydro Electric Project from 1000 MW to 1200 MW now.
The State CPI-M said the Jaypee is the biggest funding agency of both the Congress and BJP and now they are doing an eye wash and confusing people by trading charges and again saving the company. The Himachal Lokhit Party has also condemned both the parties for taking huge benefits from the company in the notorious land transfers.
When asked by the media persons, Union Minister Virbhadra Singh said he has not seen the copy of judgment and cannot comment on the same.
Meanwhile the Green Bench of State High Court comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol on Friday imposed damages of Rs 100 crore on the Jai Prakash Associates Limited after finding it guilty of flouting all ecological norms and misleading the government authorities in obtaining environmental clearances for its cement plant at Bhageri in Solan district.
The Court has also quashed the environmental clearance of the company’s thermal plant and has directed it to dismantle the same within three months. It has further ordered to constitute a three member special investigative team to probe the role of officials and public servants who had received undue benefits from the Company.
The case against the all powerful Jai Prakash Associates (JAL) was filed by an non government organisation Him Pravesh alleging that the cement plant had been set up in total violation of ecological laws and especially the Environment Impact Assessment notifications of 1994 and 2006 and without conducting any proper public hearing.
While imposing historic costs the Green Bench in its 94 page long judgment said ‘the principle of “polluter pays” is a principle which has become a part of environmental legal jurisprudence‘.