Himalaya Niti condemns comissioning of Jaypee cement plant


By: Rahul Saxena

On 14th of January 2010, we heard that the cement grinding and blending unit of Jaiprakash Associates Ltd (JAL) at village Tikri in Nalagarh tehsil, having a capacity of producing 1.75 million tones of cement annually has been commissioned. We, the people of Nalagarh and the concerned citizens of the state are shocked at the way the company has been able to hoodwink the legal process during the construction of the Cement Blending and Grinding Unit and captive 30 MW thermal power plant and the fact that there has been a continuous abettment of these violations by the state.

The construction of the existing cement and power plant was initiated without two major permissions. The lease of 24.5 Ha. land on which the construction has taken place had not been executed in the name of JAL till recently. This land belonged to the non allotable common pool shamlat and was transferred to the Department of Industries. This is against the legal provisions and locals had filed objections demanding an enquiry on the absence of proper lease of land. The other major violation was starting of construction work without the necessary Environment Clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

When the plant came up for the public hearing on 27/06/2007, a large crowd of locals had vociferously given a thumbs down to the project on account of its environmental consequences. The local MLA had fully supported the people during the meeting. Following this, the permissions/NOCs granted by the state government to the project were withdrawn. But JAL managed to get the consent to establish for the cement unit despite the popular opposition to the project.

On 17/07/2007, the Member Secretary of the HP Pollution Control Board issued a show cause notice to JAL which stated that the construction on the thermal power plant had been going on illegally without consent of the competent authorities (i.e. the MoEF).  It further stated that the provisions of not only the EIA Notification, 2006 and those of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 had been violated but also those of the consent to establish and that there could be a law and order problem if the said construction is continued. The letter also mentioned a resolution passed by the Solan District Zilla Parishad in opposition to the setting up of the captive thermal plant.

JAL floated a fresh proposal to have the plant approved through the back door i.e. as a part of a 2.0 MTPA Cement Grinding unit for which it moved a fresh application for Environment Clearance with a different expert appraisal committee of the MoEF. This was the reason why a second public hearing had to be conducted for the thermal plant that had already been rejected by the public once. JAL, meanwhile, also invested time and monetary resources to ‘buy’ favourable public opinion as the advertisements in local newspapers revealed. They donated money to local schools and public institutions so that the atmosphere for a favourable public hearing was built, a fact that was denied by the concerned people.

Around 1500 people belonging to the Gram Panchayats of the Nalagarh area and the adjoining belt of Punjab vociferously and unanimously rejected Jaiprakash Associate’s (JAL) proposal to set up a 30 MW thermal power plant at Bagheri village near the Himachal-Punjab border during the Environment Clearance public hearing on the 7th of September, 2009 for the unit held at the Gram Panchayat ground (at Bagheri). The public hearing, conducted by the HP Pollution Control Board, saw emotional scenes with the youth, women, elderly and local political representatives of the area cutting across party lines, unanimously voicing opinion against the setting up of the 2 MTPA Cement Blending Unit, 30 MW captive thermal power plant and the 32 MW Diesel Generator unit. In the bargain, the whole project, including the DG power plant and the cement grinding unit stand rejected by the public.

The construction on the cement, thermal and the diesel generator plant has meanwhile continued all this while as the evidence from the photographs of the plant would show. A large part of the work on the proposed 2.0 MTPA Grinding unit and the 32 MW DG power plant has already been completed. By applying for post facto clearances after constructing its project JAL has made a mockery of the laws of the country.

Along with these illegalities, there are issues of pollution that have been raised. The plant proposes to use 11 lakh litres of groundwater every day which would result in the lowering of water table and failure of bore-wells within a radius of 3 Km. This area is totally dependent upon ground water for irrigation and drinking water purposes. The plant shall release 3 lakh litres of waste water everyday that would pollute the nearby Lohund khud and the Satluj river downstream which is a source of drinking water for 12 Panchayats (in Punjab). The project would generate 59 tonnes of bottom ash per day which is known to contain toxic heavy metals like mercury, uranium, cadmium etc. This would have profound impacts on the health and livelihoods of the people like the Bhatinda thermal plant which has resulted in converting that area into a cancer belt. Additionally, the project proposes the burning of 650 tonnes of coal (or 600 tonnes of rice husk and 200 tonnes of plastic waste) everyday. This would result in immense air pollution, raising the local temperatures and contribute to glacial melting in the Himalayas. It may also impact on the rainfall patterns.

Recently, the High Court of Himachal, on a petition filed by a local person on the land related illegalities of the project, stayed the construction of the plant. However, last week the company filed in a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court. After 3 hearings in a short span of 10 days, the stay on construction at the JAL site was lifted by the SC and the respondents have been asked to file a reply. Meanwhile, despite a detailed petition with evidences having been sent to the state government in the first week of September, 2009, no action has been taken by it against the errant firm. There has been no punitive action by the Ministry of Environment and Forests either, who have been submitted the details of the violations several times. The people of the region are distressed by the attitude of the state in systematically and openly supporting a company indulging in such illegalities. But the people have vowed to continue the battle against JAL’s projects in Nalagarh and have decided to hold a large rally on the 20th of January at Nalagarh in protest against the violators of the environmental and land laws and their abettors within the state’s decision making structure.

Issued by:

Balkrishna Sharma (098162 80860) and Jagjit Singh Dukhia (Himparivesh) :
Guman Singh (Himalaya Niti Abhiyan) 09418277220

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  1. I doubt the govt is going to do anything, well not until this project can be postponed till near about election years 🙂 .I read about Jaypee bribing local officials and local protesters in an eco magazine a while back so there tactics seem fairly reminiscent of that episode.

    It is kind of sad how every project floated about these companies eventually gets completed even in the face of objections by local people, flouting of judicial procedure and absence of proper clearances.

  2. I wonder where from the Environmentalists, So called Public sempathisers sudden take birth when any project is announced by the Govt. or any private Industrialist. Looking from the angle of an Unemployed youth's angle, he needs a job to feed his aging parents, wants money to marry his sister and wants to himself lead a successful and happy married life. Could jobs come from so called Environmentalists and Public Sempathisers who play with Public Sentiments, arose their feelings and slow down the process of Job creation in the state and in the country. These elements are every where in the country and Democracy in India has given them freedom to say any thing. But we forget that country like China could only achieve double digit growth by shuting big mouths of such anti society people. I personally feel majority of our citizens want Industrialisation, so that they get jobs and lead a more happier life. No job opportunities for youths makes them thieves, docaits, murderers, drunkards, drug adicts. To stop this menace, our so called environmentalists and public sempathisers do not offer any solutions. How many jobs have they created, how many trees they have planted, how many check dams they have created. I call upon them to join me in my drive to force forest departments to plant fruit trees so that monkeys loitering around and causing havoc with children and ladies, get their food in the jungles and donot come to areas inhibited by human beings.

    Your comments and suggests are welcome.

    • Respected Sarvjit Singh, read some stuff before throwing in your two cents.If you would have read the article you would have read that proper government approval and regulations haven't been adhered to and then there is the bribery angle and issues like that are the main crux of the article.Also, count the fact that ours is still an almost pristine state so we should go for the knowledge based economic growth not an industrialist state made through underhanded deals(just look at Orissa).

      Government is just a bunch of politicians wanting to make hay while the sun shines, they don't give a damn about people neither do the Corporations you so proudly say want industrialize the state for common good."Unemployed Youth", really is that the best you can come up with. So yeah we will displace whole families but god forbid if we can't set a factory and make life hell for those who will be left around.This is India my friend, I refer to you the case where Himachal Govt used funds set aside for the Pong Dam displaced people to buy new cars, and yes that's the mofo govt.Look it up in the newspapers or internet archives of regional newspapers , that is if you want to talk facts.

      The thing about employment, is if you have ever been on any construction site that they employ out of state migrant labour and rest assured I have seen it with my own eyes on projects far up north in our state and then handling(later mgmt work) is done by qualified people again from outside the state. And so crumbles the myth of employment. Most youths do taxi work or open shops and stuff that don’t require villages to be dislocated and stuff.

      CHINA you do know that it is a communist state don't you.Economic growth is important but at what cost , displacing thousands to serve a few and do you know why they do it , so that they can keep the civil unrest that might brew and the rest of the crap which can fill many encyclopedia’s in and of itself.

      We don't need to follow those people we need to do what is best for us and our people and that starts, Governments giving a shit about people who put them up in positions of power and Corporations following rule of the land.

  3. उद्योगिक पॅकेज के नाम पर हिमाचल के साथ धोखा हो रहा है : कई पीढ़ियों तक हिमाचल की नसले उद्योगपतियों की गुलाम हो जाएंगी

    आप लोगों को हैरानी होगी की क्यों Sarkar उद्योगिक पैकेज को बार -बार दोहराते रहते हैं .
    हिमाचल की हजारों बीघे भूमि ,होटल, सरकारी संसथान ,विभाग लीज़ पर दिए जा रहें हैं जिनमे किसी को ९९ साल किसी को ५० साल किसी को २० साल अलग -अलग वर्ग की लीज़ दी जा रही है .
    सरकार ने निम्नलिखित सवालो का जबाब अभी तक हिमाचल के लोगो को नहीं दिया .
    १) जो जमीने लीज़ पर बाहरी राज्यों के लोगो को दी जा रही है उनको किस आधार पर लीज़ दी जा रही है ? लीज़ देते समय क्या उनके मालिको की उमर के आधार पर दी जा रही है ? अगर सरकार उनके मालिकों की उमर के आधार पर लीज़ दे रही है तो सरकार को उनकी उमर तक ही लीज़ देनी होगी उनके बच्चों को नहीं .
    क्या सरकार को पता है की वो लोग 99 साल तक जिंदा रहेंगे ?
    २) हिमाचल में कितनी लीजे परमानेंट रूप से बेचीं या तब्दील की गई हैं उन लोगों को जो हिमाचल से जन्मजात सम्बन्ध नहीं रखते हैं
    ३) हिमाचल में कितनी बेनाम संपतियां हिमाचली लोगो के नाम है जो किसी नौकर,रिश्तेदार,दोस्तों के नाम से हैं ? जिनको बाद में उन्ही लोगों को बेचा जा रहा है जिन्होंने झाली रूप से ये जमीनें खरीदी हैं .
    ४) जब उद्योगिक पॅकेज उद्योगिक घरानों को दिया जा रहा है तो वे वो अधिकार क्यों प्रयोग कर रहे है जो की एक हिमाचली को जन्मजात से मिलते है उनके पास दो-दो राज्यों के राशन कार्ड ,गैस कनेक्शन हैं उनको उद्योगिक पॅकेज की श्रेणी में क्यों नहीं रखा गया ?
    ५) हिमाचल में में कितने जाली उद्योग हैं जो पैकेज ले रहें हैं ?
    ६) जिन लोगों ने हिमाचल में उद्योग लगाये हैं 25 साल बाद वे तो हिमाचली हो जायेंगे और उनके बच्चे भी यहाँ के हो जायेगे जबकि सरकार ने उन्हें यहाँ उद्योगिक पॅकेज के जरिये बुलाया था जब उन अमीर घरों के बच्चों का हिमाचल में अतिक्रमण होगा तो हिमाचल की नसले कहाँ जाएगी .क्या अपने बच्चों को हम अभी से जहर दे देंगे ?
    यह सरकार ने अभी तक सपष्ट नहीं किया .क्योंकि हिमाचल के लोग मध्यम वर्गीय या गरीब परिवारों से सम्बन्ध रखते हैं अतः हिमाचल के लोग गुलामी का जीवन जियेंगे . ७) हिमचल के कितने उद्योगों में 70 प्रतिसत हिमाचली हैं .
    ८) कितने हिमाचल के लोगों को उद्योगों में निम्नतम वेतन मिल रहा है .
    ९) इस उद्योगिक काम में हिमाचल के कितने नेताओ का प्रतक्ष या अप्रत्यक्ष रूप से भागीदारी है. और इस पॅकेज का फायदा किसको होगा ? कौड़ियों के भाव हिमाचल को क्यों बेचा जा रहा है ,
    अगर हिमाचल विद्युत् बोर्ड को प्राइवेट कंपनी कागजो में घोषित किया जा सकता है और मण्डी के राजमहल की जमीन एक नौकर के नाम करवाके बाद में बेचीं जा सकती है तो यह कोई नयी बात नहीं होगी जब हिमाचल के लोग इन लोगों के गुलाम हो जायेंगे और वो भी उद्योगों के नाम पर जबकि हकीकत यह है की हिमाचल के बहुत ही कम लोगों के कम उद्योग हैं ?
    हिमचल बचाओ 1

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