Sun, 06 May 2012 10:20:56 GMT

Cong, BJP indulge in blame game over HC ruling on JAL



Shimla, May 5 (PTI) A day after Himachal Pradesh High Court imposed a penalty of Rs 100 crore on Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) for violation of environmental laws, Congress and the ruling-BJP today indulged in blame game with both the parties accusing each other of favouring the cement company.

State BJP chief Sat Pal Singh Satti alleged that the clearance for the setting up of JAL''s cement and thermal plants in Solan district were given by the previous Congress government between 2004 and 2007 and the BJP had no role in facilitating these plants.

He said the MoU for setting up the cement plant was signed by the then Congress government in 2004, which also alloted the Shamlat land to the company and cleared the project.

Similarly, in the case of the Thermal Plant, he claimed the the "present BJP government was no where in picture and it has no soft corner for the company."
When asked about the collaborations between Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) and JAL in organising various cricket championships, Satti said HPCA is a separate body and has nothing to do with the BJP or the Government.

He said seeking funds and sponsorships from corporate houses is common practice and the BJP has no involvement in HPCA and PAP collaborations for promoting cricket and other sports, he asserted.

On the other hand, HPCC president Kaul Singh Thakur asked the government to release a detailed report of ties between HPCA and JAL in organising various cricket championships.

Accusing the BJP government of "favouring" the JAL, Thakur said the company was allowed to enhance the installed capacity of Karchham-Wangtoo hydropower project from 1000 MW to 1200 MW and it had allegedly felled 11,000 trees for laying the transmission line for evacuation of power.

"A large number of trees could have been saved had the transmission line been paid from the left Bank, but it would have increased the cost and the BJP government preferred felling of trees than making JAL shell extra money," he alleged.

The Court had yesterday imposed a penalty of Rs 100 crore on JAL for "violation" of environmental laws and norms and resorting to "falsehood to mislead" the government for setting up the cement plant.

It also quashed the environment clearance for setting up a 25MW thermal plant in the cement plant''s vicinity and ordered the plant be dismantled within 3 months.

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