SC doesn't lift stay on Nirma cement plant, but orders eco-study

Ruling on a petition by Ahmedabad-based Nirma Industries challenging a stop-work notice issued by the union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on its proposed cement plant, the Supreme Court on Friday refused to grant a stay on the order.

Instead, it ordered a fresh environmental study of the area where Nirma - the soap and detergent company which is seeking to diversify - plans a cement plant. There is heavy environmental opposition as the site is on the wetlands near Bhavnagar in Gujarat.

A three-judge bench headed by chief justice S H Kapadia directed the expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to study whether the plant is in the wetland area or too close to water bodies.

The bench asked the MoEF to submit its environment impact assessment report not later than 10 May.

"This exercise has to be completed within six weeks. Thereafter, the report would be submitted to the MoEF in two weeks. The MoEF would give its report on 10 May 2011," it said.

Fixing the modalities for EAC, the apex court said that the committee should call for reports from a body of five scientists who should visit the site.