Nayara expansion suffers again by angry farmers

Vol 23, PW 11 (09 Apr 20) Midstream & Downstream

Unlucky Nayara Energy was first under fire for holding a public consultation instead of a public hearing to clear its Vadinar refinery expansion.

Now, Nayara and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) have scheduled a public hearing but stand accused of violating the lockdown. This report learns Dilipsinh Jadeja, a farmer from Gagva village, sent a legal notice to GPCB on April 1 (2020) over its decision to advertise a public hearing scheduled for May 1 (2020).

Jadeja tells us the public hearing was announced in Gujarati language paper Gujarat Samachar on March 26 to clear the $850m expansion of the 20m t/y refinery and petrochemicals diversification. But he complains that because of the Coronavirus lockdown villagers are not receiving newspapers.

"By issuing the advertisement, the GPCB has violated rules (under EIA - Notification 2006 and The Environment (Protection) Act 1986)," says Jadeja. Also, the March 26 advertisement mentions that copies of the draft EIA report would be made available to the public at five government offices in Jamnagar.

"By issuing the advertisement, the GPCB was asking local people to come out of their houses in violation of the lockdown," Jadeja wrote in Gujarati in the notice. In a Show Cause Notice, he asks why GPCB top officials should escape prosecution under IPC sections 188, 270, 271; CrPC (Code of Criminal Procedure) Section 144; Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897; Disaster Management Act, 2005 and EIA - Notification 2006.