The National Green Tribunal, eastern zone bench, Kolkata has admitted an appeal filed by Prafulla Samantara, president Lok Shakti Abhiyan, against the environment clearance granted for expansion of the aluminium refinery project of Vedanta at Lanjigarh, Odisha. 

Samantara told reporters here on Tuesday that admitting his appeal the NGT had observed that it is “prima facie satisfied with the reasons of delay as shown by the appellant in preferring the appeal. Notices were issued to the respondents and the Odisha State Pollution Control Board has filed its reply while the others have sought time, said the green activist. 

The Environment Clearance, granted on 20 November, 2015, was for the expansion of the project from 1 MTPA to 4 MTPA. Samantara had alleged that the expansion of the project had been undertaken without taking ‘prior’ approval for the expansion, as required under the Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2006. 

The clearance was also granted without identifying the coal and bauxite linkages for the refinery project – although it was required to do so under the Terms of Reference of the EIA. 

In addition, in granted the clearance for the expansion, the Expert Appraisal Committee and the Ministry of Environment and Forests failed to take into account the ongoing violations of the conditions under the exiting EC, the issues raised in the course of public hearing and the inadequate assessment of the air and water pollution.