February 29, 2020

CJI Says All Thermal Plants Must Be Closed To Curb Pollution

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde has stated that he wants all coal-fired thermal power plants in the country to be shut down in order to curb further environmental pollution.

He stated that all thermal plants must be shut because it’s impossible to breathe in a city with such plants.

His made the statement while a bench headed by him dealt with a case from Uttarakhand where many such thermal projects had come under the scanner of the court, along with Justice B R Gavai and Justice Surya Kant.

“You cannot destroy the ecology. You can consider keeping it out of ecologically fragile areas,” the CJI stated, suggesting a review of all power projects in the country situated in such areas.

The Supreme Court also suggested exploring the feasibility of shifting hydro-electric power projects on Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers in Uttarakhand to non-eco fragile zones to facilitate resumption of the projects which have been stalled for the last seven years.

“It should be considered for all projects across the country and not only for Uttarakhand. Pure commercial consideration cannot be the sole criterion. We agree there is need for power. But protecting environment and lives of people are more important. Power projects can be relocated. They need not be in ecologically fragile areas,” a Supreme Court bench comprising of Chief Justice S A Bobde, Justice B R Gavai and Justice Surya Kant said.

However, the Supreme Court bench’s suggestion of relocation did not go down well with senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared for GMR Badrinath Hydro Power Generation Pvt Ltd, which is in the process of constructing a 300 MW project on Alaknanda river near Badrinath.

Rohatgi stated that seven years after investing huge amount in a project that is stuck because of court orders, relocation would mean constructing the hydroelectric power project from scratch at a new location. This would not be good for the economy, he stated.

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