AM/NS India deceived the Central and State Governments to acquire 65 hectares of forest land in Hazira: BWRC


AM/NS India deceived the Central and State Governments to acquire 65 hectares of forest land in Hazira: BWRC

The BWRC urges the State Government to revoke the notification and to withhold possession of the 65 hectares of forest land from AM/NS India

Surat (Gujarat) [India], March 17: The Brackish Water Research Centre (BWRC) has sought to register a criminal complaint against Dilip Oommen, the CEO of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India (AM/NS India) and the CEO of Inox Air Product Private Limited, under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, the Forest Conservation Act, and the Indian Forest Act, 1927, for deceiving the Government of India, the Government of Gujarat, the Forest Department, and the District Collector to acquire 65 hectares of forest land in Hazira.

In his complaint to the State Government’s Additional Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment Department, Surat District Collector, and others, MHS Shaikh, president of BWRC demanded that the notification on the forest land transfer of the total 65 hectares be revoked and that possession of the land not be given to the AM/NS India for providing false information and thus committing an offense under the Forest Conversation Act.

According to Shaikh, the AM/NS India had submitted two applications for the transfer of 65 hectares of forest land in Hazira—27.02 hectares for raw material handling facility and 38.71 hectares for the power plant. Both the applications were given the Stage-1 and Stage-II approvals by the State Government through notification and the AM/NS India has to take possession of the forest land parcels.

Out of the total 65 hectares of forest land, about 8 hectares of land is under the possession of Inox Company, a private entity since 2005, which is not mentioned anywhere in the two proposals submitted by AM/NS India. Inox Air Products claims to operate India’s largest industrial gas complex to supply 7,900 metric tones per day of industrial gases including 6,000 tonnes of oxygen and 1,900 tons of nitrogen to AM/NS India. Further in 2015, three running plants (1700 TPD X 3) belonging to Essar Steel, were taken over by INOX Air Products.

Inox company can’t run independently if there is any production agreement with Essar Steel Company. And its products cannot be sold in their name because the land acquisition at Hazira was for the specific purposes of the steel plant and not for setting up an oxygen selling plant.

Even today, the company independently sells oxygen to the old Essar and the new existing AM/NS India, which shows that the company is independent and is responsible for forest offenses. Inox is supplying oxygen and nitrogen to AM/NS India and is also selling the same to other individual customers outside Hazira, proving that the company is being operated independently, stated the complaint.

Shaikh said, “The Forest Clearance (FC) proposals of AM/NS India for 65  hectares of forest land may be reconsidered. A portion of the forest land is in the management and possession of another private company manufacturing oxygen and nitrogen. It is requested that bot the applications of AM/NS India for 65-hectare land should be reviewed by the State Government and the Government of India and the FC land proposal should be dropped”

“The State Government approved the allotment of the 65 hectares of forest land in Hazira for the expansion of the steel manufacturing at AM/NS India. But, the very purpose for which the land has been approved has gone for a toss with the presence of a private company manufacturing oxygen and nitrogen since 2006” said Shaikh

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