Nirma's cement project must relocate, says MoEF

The ministry of environment and forests has dealt a virtual death blow to Nirma's plans for a Rs450-crore cement plant in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, as the ministry's expert appraisal committee report, submitted to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, concluded that the plant is situated on wetlands and violates environmental laws.

A public interest litigation filed by local farmers demanding the closure of the Nirma cement plant project is listed for final orders before the apex court on Friday.

The expert appraisal committee said, ''No fresh water sanctuary needs to be razed to pitch a cement plant therein. The approval accorded may be revoked as it was initially founded on undisclosed and incorrect postulates.''

The committee concluded that the plant will generate particulate matter, fugitive emissions, and effluents deleterious to agriculture. It recommended that the plant should be shifted to an alternative site.

Nirma had claimed that the project, located on 268 acres, was on wasteland. But the ministry has concluded that the site is wetland and is essential for farmers in the vicinity.

Under the `Vibrant Gujarat' programme, the Narendra Modi government had allocated the land for the Rs450-crore plant, on which construction has already begun. But there were protests from the local population as the land was on a water body essential for irrigating their lands.