NGT asks MoEF to blacklist consultants cooking up data for EIA report

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) to blacklist consultants who cook up data or furnish wrong data, which results in sub-standard environment impact appraisal (EIA) reports.

Suspending the environmental clearance granted for expansion of a steel and captive power plant in Chhattisgarh, the NGT found data provided in the EIA report about the company was 'unreliable.'

"In view of the infirmities in the EIA report, we direct the MoEF to develop appropriate mechanism to check the authenticity of environmental data, which would facilitate a more realistic environmental appraisal of the project," said the NGT. "Steps should also be taken for black listing consultants found to have reported 'cooked data' or 'wrong data' and for producing sub-standard EIA report."

The NGT bench comprising acting chairperson A S Naidu and G K Pandey, directed the MoEF to revisit its decision of granting clearance after conducting a public hearing at the project site and nearby areas. The project is being developed by Scania Steel and Power Ltd. It was hearing a plea filed by Jan Chetna, an NGO, challenging the grant of environmental clearance without a public hearing.

While refusing to cancel the environment clearance granted in 2008, the tribunal asked the ministry to expedite the review process.

The tribunal was established in October 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. Under the act, it has to dispose of applications or appeals within six months.