Supreme Court: Dismissed Petition Challenging Expansion Of Refinery Capacity Of Nayara Energy Limited In Gujarat

The Supreme Court in the case Sanghar Zuber Ismail v. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change And Anr observed and has dismissed a plea challenging M/s. Nayara Energy Limited’s expansion for the refinery capacity from 20 MMTPA to 46 MMTPA with the Petro-Chemical Complex, Vadinar, Devbhumi, Dwarka, Gujarat.
The court finds no substantial question of law that would arise for consideration by this Court, the court while keeping in view of the above findings, which have been arrived at and have been perused the record.
In the present case, the Environment Assessment Committee considered the Environmental Clearance proposal of the company wherein Nayara and its consultant CSIR and NEERI made a detailed presentation. On 05.01.2021, the clearance was granted for expansion. An appeal was preferred before the National Green Tribunal against the grant for Environmental Clearance of the expansion, the same was dismissed. Thus, the order was challenged before the Apex Court and set aside and the appeal was restored to the file of NGT for fresh consideration. A 3-member committee has been constituted by the NGT comprising of Chief Wildlife Warden, Gujarat, Director, State Pollution Control Board and the Marine National Park for evaluating risk associated with the expansion of the project. On 03.12.2021, the said joint committee submitted its report on perusal of the same the NGT dismissed the appeal.
The bench comprising of comprising of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli observed while refusing to grant relief to the petitioner and by taking a note of the fact that the NGT had observed there being no adverse impact on the marine ecosystem
the mangrove cover has increased in the year 2021 as compared to 2019
the unit has been compiled with the recommendations of the National Environment Engineering Research Institute on risk assessment
the inter-tidal assessment of biotic community and corals shows no adverse impact, thereby maintaining of the biodiversity; and
the unit is having a well defined system in place for maintaining health, safety and other safeguards.
The bench observed and was satisfied that both the Joint Committee and the Environmental Assessment Committee had visited the site of impact and has consulted stakeholders. Thus, the public hearings were conducted on the subject which demonstrated that there being no objection from the stakeholders’ end.
However, it has been submitted in the plea filled that the NGT has not appreciated the fact that the Joint Committee is relying on the India State of Forest Report 2019 Forest Survey of India report and the report of National Institute of Oceanography, which is dealing with the period before the expansion of the refinery. Thus, it is not indicating the impact upon the expansion of the capacity of the refinery on the mangrove forests. Further, it has been argued in the plea that the Joint Committee had not assessed the adverse impact of the expansion, which the plea claim that it would cause serious hazards for both marine biology and that to the mangroves. The plea also emphasized that drawing 928 MLD more water on an account of expansion from 20 MMTPA to 46 MMTPA as well as the discharge of 573 MLD water will be having adverse effect on mangrove forest as well as corals and coral reefs situated in the buffer zone of 10 km.
Advocate, Mr. Purvish Malkhan represented the appellants. The Respondent No. 2. M/s. Nayara Energy Ltd. was represented by Senior Advocate, Mr. Mukul Rohtagi and Advocate Chinmoy Sharma and Advocate, Mr. Somiran Sharma.

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