Hanuman Laxman Aroskar vs Union Of India on 16 January, 2020


Supreme Court of India

Hanuman Laxman Aroskar vs Union Of India on 16 January, 2020

Author: Hon’Ble Dr. Chandrachud

Bench: Hon’Ble Dr. Chandrachud, Ajay Rastogi

                                                                                REPORTABLE


                                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                                         CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION


                                             M.A. No. 965 of 2019

                                                      IN

                                         Civil Appeal No. 12251 of 2018


          Hanuman Laxman Aroskar                                          …Appellant


                                                       Versus

          Union of India & Ors.                                           ...Respondents




                                                 JUDGMENT

Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, J

INDEX

A. Introduction

B. Appraisal by the EAC

B.1 Zero-Carbon programme

C. Genesis of the proposed airport
Signature Not Verified

D.

Digitally signed by
SANJAY KUMAR             The present challenge
Date: 2020.01.16
12:38:27 IST
Reason:

                         D.1      Domain Expertise of the EAC


                                                       1
     D.2      Conflict of interest

     D.3      Western Ghats and ESAs

     D.4      Forestland and flora and fauna

E.   Directions




                                     2
                                                                                  PART A


A.      Introduction


1       The Union of India in the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate

Change1 moved these proceedings, seeking a direction that the Minutes of the

fortieth meeting of the Expert Appraisal Committee2 dated 23 April 2019 be taken

on the record so that the embargo imposed by this Court on the Environmental

Clearance3 for a greenfield airport at Mopa Goa can be lifted. This follows upon

the judgment dated 23 April 2019 which was rendered on a challenge addressed

to this Court against a decision of the National Green Tribunal 4 upholding the EC,

subject to compliance with certain conditions. By the judgment of this Court,

reported as Hanuman Laxman Aroskar v Union of India5, the process leading

up to the grant of an EC on 28 October 2015 was held to be flawed. The

directions that were imposed by the Court were formulated in the following terms:

“175. …

(i) The EAC shall revisit the recommendations made by it for
the grant of an EC, including the conditions which it has
formulated, having regard to the specific concerns which have
been highlighted in this judgment;

(ii) The EAC shall carry out the exercise under (i) above
within a period of one month of the receipt of a certified copy
of this order;

(iii) Until the EAC carries out the fresh exercise as directed
above, the EC granted by the MoEFCC on 28 October 2015
shall remain suspended;

(iv) Upon reconsidering the matter in terms of the present
directions, the EAC, if it allows the construction to proceed
will impose such additional conditions which in its expert view
will adequately protect the concerns about the terrestrial eco

1
MoEF-CC
2
EAC
3
EC
4
NGT
5
(2019) SCCOnline SC 441

3
PART A

systems noticed in this judgment. The EAC would be at liberty
to lay down appropriate conditions concerning air, water,
noise, land, biological and socio-economic environment;

(v) The EAC shall have due regard to the assurance
furnished by the concessionaire to this Court that it is willing
to adopt and implement necessary safeguards bearing in
mind international best practices governing greenfield
airports;

(vi) We grant liberty to the State of Goa as the project
proponent and the MoEFCC, as the case may be, to file the
report of the EAC before this Court in the form of a
Miscellaneous Application so as to facilitate the passing of
appropriate orders in the proceedings; and

(vii) No other Court or Tribunal shall entertain any challenge
to the report that is to be submitted before this Court by the
EAC in compliance with the present order.”

Pending the completion of the process mandated in the above terms, this Court

suspended the EC which had been granted on 28 October 2015.

The directions issued by this Court required the EAC:

(i) To revisit its recommendations for the grant of the EC including the

conditions which it had imposed; and

(ii) To impose, in the event that it allowed the construction of the airport to

proceed additional conditions to adequately protect the concerns

governing the terrestrial eco-systems noticed in the judgment, besides

formulating conditions pertaining to air, water, noise, land, biological

and socio-economic environment. While doing so, the EAC was under

a mandate to take into consideration the specific concerns which were

highlighted in the judgment.

4
PART A

2 The basis of the directions that were issued by this Court was formulated

in the penultimate paragraph of the judgment which reads thus:

“174.Bearing in view the necessity to maintain a balance
between the need for an airport and environmental concerns,
we are of the view that it would be appropriate if the EAC is
directed to revisit the conditions subject to which it granted its
EC on the basis of the specific concerns which have been
highlighted in this judgment. Such an exercise primarily is for
the EAC to carry out in its expert decision making capacity.
The EAC is entrusted with that function as an expert body.
The role of judicial review is to ensure that the rule of law is
observed. Hence, we propose by the directions which we will
issue under Article 142 of the Constitution, to direct the EAC
to revisit the conditions for the grant of an EC. While doing
so, it would be open to the EAC to have due regard to the
conditions which were incorporated in the order of the NGT
and to suitably modulate those conditions in pursuance of the
liberty which we have preserved to it. To facilitate an
expeditious decision, we propose to direct the EAC to carry
out this exercise in a prescribed time schedule during which
period, the EC shall remain suspended. We propose to direct
that after the EAC has formulated its views, they shall be
placed before this Court in a Miscellaneous Application in the
present proceedings, so as to enable the Court to pass final
orders. The Miscellaneous Application may be filed either by
the State of Goa as the project proponent or by the MoEFCC.

We clarify that no other Court or Tribunal shall entertain any
challenge to the ultimate decision of the EAC and final orders
thereon shall be passed by this Court in the present
proceedings.”

3 Essentially, the concerns which were highlighted in the judgment of this

Court related to the need to preserve the biodiversity of the Western Ghats.

These concerns have been the subject of a seminal exercise carried out in 2013

by a High Level Working Group6 on the Western Ghats chaired by Dr K

Kasturirangan7. The report of the HLWG has been dwelt upon in the earlier

6
HLWG
7
Kasturirangan Committee report

5
PART A

judgment and continues to be a focal point of the continuing debate in the present

case. The HLWG was constituted under the auspices of the MoEF-CC. Its report

dated 15 April 2013 is a valuable contribution to the preservation of biodiversity in

the pristine environment of the Western Ghats.

4 The judgment of this Court emphasized the failure of the State of Goa, as

the project proponent, to provide complete information on the existence of

reserved forests including those which fall within a 15 km radial distance of the

proposed airport at Mopa. Underlying the serious deficiency in the disclosure of

information by the project proponent, this Court noted its concerns on certain

specific aspects. These included primarily:

(i) Preservation of forests, including reserved forests;

(ii) Existence of Ecologically Sensitive Areas8 with their attendant features

such as flora, fauna and environmental quality in terms of water, soil, noise

and climatic variations;

(iii) Impact of the proposed construction on the flow of water in natural water

channels; and

(iv) Socio-economic and environmental concerns which were raised in the

course of public consultations.





8
    ESA

                                            6
                                                                                 PART B


B.    Appraisal by the EAC


5     Following the judgment of this Court, the project proponent furnished

supplementary information to the EAC which revealed certain significant

environmental features. The disclosure is extracted below:

“a) There are seven reserved forests within 15 km. of the
proposed Airport in the Goa region (under Section-20) and six
proposed reserved forests (under section-4) of Indian Forest
Act
, 1927. (Survey of India Toposheet and Forest Working
Plan of North Goa)

b) There are twenty-nine proposed reserve forests within 15
km. of the proposed Airport in Maharashtra region under
Section-4 of Indian Forest Act, 1927 (Survey of India
Toposheet & Forest Department, Sawantwadi Division)

c) There are four rivers in Goa viz. Terekhol river, Kalna river,
Chapora river, Moide river and one river viz. Tilari river in
Maharashtra (source: Survey of India Toposheet).

d) There are few patches of mangroves observed near Moide
river, Terekhol river, Chapora river.

e) Western Ghat Mountain range falls within the study area.

f) There are two wetlands, of which one i.e. Anjuna reservoir
has been identified in National Wetland Atlas of Goa.

g) There are no coastal areas and declared biospheres in the
vicinity of the proposed airport site.”

6 The EAC tabulated the details of forest areas which fell within a radial

distance of 15 kms of the proposed airport and within the territories of the States

of Goa and Maharashtra. The forested areas were found to be situated in three

talukas in the State of Goa (Bicholim, Pernem and Bardez) and in three talukas in

the State of Maharashtra (Sawantwadi, Dodamarg and Vengurla). In Pernem

7
PART B

taluka, the information set out in the minutes of the EAC dated 23 April 2019

demonstrate the existence of reserved forests inter alia in Mopa.

7 While reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment9, the EAC

observed:

“As per Forest Policy, 1988 of Government of India, required
forest cover is 33%. Whereas, India average is 21.54%,
Goa‟s forest cover as per India‟s state of forest report 2017 is
60.21%. There would be impact on forest due to felling of
trees but eventually the forest cover will improve with a 1:10
compensatory afforestation program to be undertaken over a
period of 5 years by the concessionaire, Goa State
Biodiversity Board and Directorate of Civil Aviation. The
enhanced forest cover would lead to healthy biodiversity.
Further impacts on water, air, soil and noise environment will
be minimal considering the felling of trees over a large area
and compensatory afforestation plan as approved.

It is noted that the airport site is not fragmenting the forest
area thus not restricting and affecting the movement of fauna.
The Airport plateau has villages on one side and forest cover
on the other side. The plateau is just an extension of forest
cover with trees, which had 15 houses, some grazing activity
and some agricultural activity where the animals from the
nearby forest may have been straying. The proposed airport
will be protected from all sides with compound wall as per
DGCA guidelines and thus animals will not able to enter the
airport premises.

The proposed 10 times compensatory plantation needs to be
monitored by the Government of Goa so that the target of
planting 5.5 lakhs saplings is achieved in a time bound
manner, their survival rate is monitored and mortality is
replenished. As major chunk of 2.5 lakh of saplings is
proposed to be done by the village level Biodiversity
Committees, it is necessary to ensure that people are largely
given native species and/or fruit bearing saplings so that they
will be able to derive economic benefits from such fruit crops
and also such trees will provide better biological environment
to birds.”

9
EIA

8
PART B

8 On the existence of ESAs, the EAC noted that the EIA report had only

indicated that Pernem taluka, where the project is to come up, has not been

earmarked as an ESA in the Kasturirangan Committee report. The EAC, in its

minutes dated 23 April 2019, took note of the fact that based on the

Kasturirangan Committee report, the MoEF-CC published a draft notification on 3

October 2018 indicating proposed ESAs in the Western Ghats according to

which, ten villages in Sawantwadi taluka of Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra

are comprised in the ESAs of the Western Ghats. Apart from the ESAs within the

State of Maharashtra, the EAC noted the existence of an additional eighteen

species of mammals and fourteen bird species in the study area on the basis of

data collected from the Zoological Survey of India10. Reviewing the EIA with

reference to the existence of ten ESAs within a radial distance of 10 Kms in the

State of Maharashtra, the EAC noted in its minutes dated 23 April 2019:

“EAC noted that all the 10 ESA areas within 10 kms in the
State of Maharashtra are beyond 4 kilometers from the
project boundary, the nearest one being at a distance of 4.1
kms (Village Galel). As per Airport guidance manual
maximum impact on the air and noise environment will be
there till the aircraft gains a height of 1000 ft. Emissions from
aircraft below 1,000 ft. above the ground will be there typically
around 3 km from departure or, for arrivals, around 6 km from
touchdown. The altitude of 1000 ft in landing and takeoff is
achieved within the project site. Considering that all the ESAs
are far away from the project, the impact on air and noise
environment is expected to be minimal. With regard to soil
environment, impact will be mostly on the airport site self. As
regards water environment, as the water flow from the airport
site will feed the water bodies in the State of Goa, no impact
is envisaged on the ESA areas.”

10
ZSI

9
PART B

9 The EAC also deliberated on the likely impact of the construction and

operation of an airport on the flora, fauna and hydrological systems in the ESAs

as well as in regard to climatic variations. The EAC categorized them in the

following terms:

“WATER ENVIRONMENT:

– Changes in the natural flow of storm water, stunted growth,
delayed flowering and fruiting.

– Fauna migration in search of water to other places.

– Change their habitat and breeding capacity.

– Due to eutrophication influence, certain toxic algae
production some animals can suffer symptoms like skin
irritation or health problems if drinking

SOIL ENVIRONMENT:

– Soil impact may lead in to non-germination of seeds &
stunted growth, delayed flowering & fruiting, erosion and
clearing of topsoil (loss of habitat & habitat fragmentation)

– Affects the quality of the environment or habitat in which
they live

– Affects the availability and quality of the food supply

– Soil erosion may increase the turbidity which could impact
aquatic fauna‟s respiration capacity.

– Loss of local aquatic biodiversity

– Habitat loss

– Erosion and clearing of topsoil (loss of micro-fauna).

– Influence the abundance and health of dependent species

AIR ENVIRONMENT:

Air impact may lead reduced productivity, changes in water
vapor levels.

SURROUNDING / NOISE ENVIRONMENT.

– Migration of birds

– Breeding capacity reduction

10
PART B

– Affect life cycle Shy mammals may move away

– Bird Aircraft strike

– Wild life hazard management

Climatic Variations:

– habitats of many species will move pole ward

– experience increase in temperature regimes, rainfall

– decrease in the moisture regimes and increase in fire
incidences.”

Dealing with these features and the impact upon them of the proposed project,

the EAC observed:

“The EAC noted that a total of 385 species of plants, 36
medicinal plant, 86 species of birds, 33 butterfly species, 5
species of amphibians, 18 species of reptiles, 35 fish species,
28 number of mammal species were identified in the study
area based on primary and secondary source of data. The
proposed project has minimal intervention and impact on the
surrounding ecosystem. There are mitigation measures
already prescribed in EC conditions so as to minimize the
impact on Biodiversity-Flora & Fauna, Hydrological Systems.

This will help enabling the process for sustainable
development that benefit both environment and local
livelihoods. With regards to climatic variations, the EAC felt
that additional initiatives such as Green Infrastructure
Development program, adoption of low emission intensive
technologies, renewable energy program, and Airport Carbon
Accreditation need to be adopted to reduce the impact on
Green House Gas (GHG) emissions and thereby climate
change.”

10 The next set of concerns that were dealt with by the EAC related to the

impact of the proposed project on natural channels for the drainage of water. This

Court had noted in its earlier judgment that the Mopa plateau is at a height of 155

11
PART B

metres above Mean Sea Level11 and water from the plateau flows down to the

rivers in the State of Goa. The laterite plateau is an important source of drainage

by providing natural channels for water. The deficiency which was seen by this

Court was that the impact of a greenfield airport on the closing of natural

channels which feed water bodies had not been scientifically mapped or studied

and adequately addressed.

11 In reviewing the EIA on this aspect, the EAC in its minutes dated 23 April

2019 observed:

“If natural water channels that feed the local water bodies are
not protected then there will be water deficiency in the
villages for agriculture, fishing etc. Further, there will be
impact on the ground water levels in the villages. EAC while
granting EC for the project had detailed deliberation on this
aspect so as to ensure that natural water channels feeding
the water bodies are not blocked. The EAC reviewed the
entire gamut of natural/artificial drainage and the storm water
drainage pattern. As per the supplementary information
provided now, the airport site, by virtue of being located on a
plateau and the laterite soil surface, would naturally facilitate
the flow of storm water and other artificial drainage. The
proponent has designed for appropriate drainage channels in
such a manner that the water flow from project site is
channelized suitably into the natural water channels feeding
the water bodies down slope. All due precautions, however,
need to be exercised during the construction phase so as to
ensure that construction material/debris does not, in any
manner, block/obstruct the natural water channels or springs.

The EAC deliberated on the current state of the project
construction and noted that in the ensuing monsoon season
the earth piled up at the project site due to excavation may
drift to the natural water channels which may ultimately reach
the water bodies in the villages. This is a matter of grave
environmental concern which needs to be addressed by the
project proponent immediately by development of
embankment structures around the excavated earth so that
piled up earth doesn‟t drift to the natural water channels and
the run-off from the site does not pollute or contaminate the

11
MSL

12
PART B

water bodies. This shall be maintained during
construction/operation phase of the project.”

12 As regards the concerns which were raised in the course of public

consultations, the EAC dealt with environmental concerns which included:

“rain water harvesting, STP and solid waste management
plan, impact on flora and fauna, soil quality and its impact,
storm water management, impact on ground water, socio
cultural impact, dust pollution during construction activity,
employment opportunities to the local people, compensation
to the affected land owners”

The EAC has opined that these have been adequately addressed.

13 Finally, after analyzing the responses submitted before it, the EAC

summed up its analysis thus:

“1. The EAC observed that the earlier Form-1 did not give
proper disclosure in respect of the details of forests on the
land and nearby wet land as well as on the water bodies. The
EAC took into account the supplementary report that has
been submitted which takes into account the deficiency of
disclosure and the same thing has been complied with in the
supplementary report. In addition, it is also noticed that the
mitigation measures in respect of the depletion of forest cover
on the project land and water bodies have been taken into
account. As against 54,176 trees, which have been felled on
the project site based on earlier approvals given by
competent authority, the project proponent is proposing to
plant 5,50,000 trees (50,000 trees at the project site, 2,50,000
trees in the nearby villages supervised by the Biodiversity
Board and 2,50,000 trees under the supervision of DGCA.
This is 1:10 times the number of trees affected as against the
standard requirement of 1:3 times number of trees to be
planted. The overall supervision of this compliance within the
time frame of 5 years would be vested with DGCA. DGCA,
however, needs to constitute a local monitoring committee for
periodic monitoring of this vital exercise.

13

PART B

2. The EAC noted that neither the project site nor the villages
in area under study (primary data source) falls in any Eco-
Sensitive Zone (ESZ). The 10 villages in Maharashtra side fall
in ESA not ESZ and where the impacts of the project would
be minimal. The EAC also observed that the villages in
vicinity of the project in the Goa and Maharashtra region are
not located in very close proximity. The nearest village is
about 4.1 km from the boundary of the project. The EAC also
observed that beyond the runway of 3.75 km, the flight
operation generally found at an altitude of about 1000 feet
and thus there would not be any adverse impact on flora and
fauna in the surrounding area of the airport.

3. The EAC observed that a certificate from Chief Wildlife
Warden (CWLW) of State through State Government be
obtained confirming that none of the area of the project falls in
the notified Eco-sensitive Zone (ESZ) in the State of Goa and
no activity prohibited in the Ecosensitive zone will be taken up
be taken by the project proponent.

4. The EAC further observed that as per the supplementary
report and the proposal of the water bodies with respect to
observation regarding plateau effect of the land and also
laterite surface and the springs, streams and water courses in
the project land have been taken into account and
appropriate drainage channels have been designed to take
care of the water flows into the nearest water courses/rivers,
etc.

5. Appropriate storm water drainage channeling has been
taken into account not only for the pre-monsoon season but
also for monsoon and heavy rainfall. The drainage plan
should have ratification by the concerned water resources
department of Goa. It should be ensured that sustainable
water flow in the various channels of watershed in the plateau
is maintained. For the present, base level data on flow of
water should be collected and used for future monitoring.

6. The EAC observed that in respect of the fauna, the primary
data has been collected from one of the nearest village and
the secondary data has been collected from ZSI. In respect of
the observation of sighting a leopard by villager, the
authorities have indicated that they do not have any definitive
information on the same and this need to be
verified/authenticated.

7. It is a well-established fact of silvicultural science and
practice that no plantation can replace the natural forest. The
kind of biodiversity in any natural forest is almost impossible
to be replaced by any kind of plantation activity which at best
can be a mix of various monocultures. We are still far away in

14
PART B

our knowledge of replicating the creation of natural forest.
Therefore, to this extent, the EAC does not agree with the
assessment of project proponent that after cutting of trees
and planting of 1:10 trees, richer biodiversity the forest would
be created. However, 1:10 plantation activity under expert
guidance can to some extent compensate the loss of natural
forest.

8. With respect to the various points raised in the public
hearing, the EAC observed that the supplementary report has
made available point-wise clarifications on the various
concerns on the public hearing. However, Hon‟ble court
shortlisted 14 items of concern in the public hearing.
Solution/management plan to all these need to be clearly
spelt out in the EMP and implemented in letter and spirit.”

14 Accordingly, the EAC has recommended the grant of an EC to the project

with additional environmental safeguards and conditions, over and above those

which were stipulated in (i) the EC dated 28 October 2015; and (ii) the order of

the NGT dated 21 August 2018. The conditions which have been imposed by the

EAC have been classified under the following heads:

     (i)        Statutory compliance;

     (ii)       Air quality monitoring and preservation;

     (iii)      Water quality monitoring and preservation;

     (iv)       Noise monitoring and prevention;

     (v)        Energy conservation/ climate change measures;

     (vi)       Waste management;

     (vii)      Green Belt; and

     (viii)     Public hearing and human health issues.




                                                   15
                                                                              PART B




15           The EAC has also incorporated as a part of its recommendations

additional conditions as mandated by the NGT in its order dated 21 August 2018

under the following heads:

     (i)        Air environment;

     (ii)       Water environment;

     (iii)      Land environment;

     (iv)       Noise environment;

     (v)        Land environment;

     (vi)       Biological environment; and

     (vii)      Socio-economic environment.




B.1          Zero-Carbon programme


16           During the course of the hearing before this Court, a statement has been

made on behalf of the concessionaire GMR Goa International Airport Limited,

that in the event of this Court sustaining the EC for the project, it stands

committed to fulfill the objective of making the proposed greenfield airport at

Mopa Goa, a zero carbon airport operation. The purpose of a zero carbon airport

operation is to eliminate anthropogenic carbon emissions reaching the

atmosphere completely or to the minimum extent possible from airport activities

16
PART B

performed during its operation. The statement which has been tendered by the

concessionaire before this Court is in the following terms:

“I. Zero carbon programme

1. The objective of making “Zero Carbon” airport operation is
to eliminate the anthropogenic carbon emissions reaching
to atmosphere completely or to the minimum extent
possible from the activates performed at Airport during its
operation.

2. Climate Change and its mitigation in Aviation Industry is
monitored by International Civil Aviation Organization
(ICAO) and the emissions from domestic aviation are
monitored by the respective countries under the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC) frameworks.

3. Carbon emissions management is guided by Airports
Council International (ACI), through its globally
recognized Airport Carbon Accreditation (ACA) Program.

4. In airports, this is addressed by developing
infrastructures/systems which will generate zero or
minimum carbon emissions during its operations as per
UNFCCC approved market mechanisms by:

a. Adopting green building concepts,
b. Generation and use of renewable energy,
c. Use of energy efficient systems,
d. Developing green landscapes,
e. Plantations as carbon sink to absorb carbon emission
from the atmosphere
f. Adopting carbon offset measures for the residual
emissions of airport operations

5. Level 3+ is the highest level of accreditation for carbon
emission management of airports. As of July 30, 2019,
there were 52 Level 3+ (Neutrality) accredited airports
globally (out of 1,957 ACI member airports), including
GMR Group‟s Delhi and Hyderabad Airports (Additional
Affidavit of Respondent No. 5, pp.23-24).

6. Level 3+ Neutrality is achieved by fulfilling requirements
of Level 1,2 and 3 accreditation program (R-5 Affidavit,
Page 17) and offset of residual emissions under the
airport‟s control. (Sources of emission and measures
under the ACA Program – Page 18). The Zero Carbon
Emission Implementation Framework provides for various
measures such as:

a. Internal audit once in two year
b. External audit after every 5 years
c. Adopt Energy Management System – ISO 50001 and
3rd Party certification

17
PART C

d. Improve energy efficiency of buildings and equipment
& lightings,
e. Improve ground water availability
f. Promote energy efficient and alternate fuel vehicles.”

C. Genesis of the proposed airport

17 Before we deal with the principle challenges addressed before the Court

on behalf of the original appellant represented by Ms Anitha Shenoy, learned

Senior Counsel, it would be worthwhile to set out briefly the genesis of the

proposed airport at Mopa Goa. Mr K K Venugopal, learned Attorney General for

India emphasized the following features of the project:

(i) The construction of an airport at Mopa Goa has been on the drawing board

for nearly two decades;

(ii) The site at Mopa was chosen among three options after due examination

by experts;

(iii) The existing airport at Dabolim is a defence establishment which is closed

to area traffic between 8:30am to 1:30pm daily;

(iv) The existing airport at Dabolim was intended to serve four million

passengers annually while the existing passenger traffic is about 7.5

million annually;

(v) The passenger traffic at Goa is expected to rise in the upcoming financial

years to the following extent:

         FY 21        FY 22              FY 23             FY 24              FY 25
         12.0         14.1               15.5              16.7               17.9
                                                                   (million passengers)

                                             18
                                                                              PART C


(vi)       Due to capacity constraints, international charter flights are not granted

parking facilities at night at Dabolim; and

(vii) The proposed greenfield airport will have a capacity to handle 4.4 million

passengers in Phase–I, 13 million passengers in Phase–II and 30 million

passengers in Phase–III annually.

18 The project area of the proposed Mopa airport is spread over 2,131 acres.

Terms of Reference12 were issued on 1 June 2011 and were extended on 19

June 2013 and 29 May 2015. The process for land acquisition was initiated

around 2008. The Request for Qualification13 for the Mopa airport was issued on

3 October 2014. The EC was granted on 28 October 2015. The concession

agreement was executed on 8 November 2016. The airport is required by the

terms of the agreement to be operational within thirty-six months from 4

September 2017. According to the concessionaire, as on 18 January 2019,

approximately 14.06 per cent of the project work had been completed. Pursuant

to the orders for the removal of trees, 54,176 trees were felled and 500 trees

were earmarked for transplantation. Ten trees of local species are to be replanted

for every tree which has been felled. 20,000 saplings have been re-planted. The

concessionaire has placed on record the following financial features of the

project:

“a. The indicative capital cost of the Mopa Airport,
Phase I, was estimated at INR 1,900 Cr. Total
Project Cost was estimated at INR 3,000 crores
(70% debt and 30% equity).

12

ToR
13
RFQ

19
PART C

b. Total debt commitment incurred by Respondent
No.5 for the Mopa Airport is approximately INR
1,330 Crs.


             c.    The annual debt servicing incurred by Respondent
                   No.5      based     on    current   disbursement       is
                   approximately INR 17 Crs.

             d.    Respondent        No.5     has    also   entered     into

contractual commitments for following amounts –
INR 1,377 Crs. Towards Engineering Contracts,
Project Consultant INR 38 Crs. Independent
Engineer INR 11 Crs. totaling – INR 1,426 Crs.

e. Prior to the order dated 18.01.2019 passed by
Hon‟ble Supreme Court directing status quo be
maintained, approximately 1,500 workforce were
gainfully engaged at the Project site along with
requisite plant and machinery.

f. The estimated traffic at Goa is (passengers in
Million Passengers per Annum – MPPA):

                     FY 21      FY 22        FY 23     FY 24     FY 25
                     12.0       14.1         15.5      16.7      17.9



             g.    The      Scheduled       Commencement       Date     was

contemplated as 3 years from Appointed Date
(04.09.2017) – 03.09.2020.

h. The Concession Period is for 40 years from
Appointed Date with a right of first refusal to
Respondent No.5 for an extension of 20 years.

             i.    GoG‟s share of revenue – 36.99% on Gross
                   Revenue from 6th year of Commencement of
                   Appointed Date.”




According to the concessionaire, the following work was in progress at the project

site when the implementation of the EC was suspended:

20
PART D

“i. Airside Earthworks – these include excavation and
filling of runways, taxiways, aprons, parking bays, etc.

ii. PTB – foundations and column works in progress,

iii. ATC Building – excavation for foundations are in
progress,

iv. Administration Building – foundation and column
works in progress,

v. Precast Compound Wall works – casting of panels
and columns in progress,

vi. City Side Development Master plan works is in
progress.”

D. The present challenge

19 The essence of the controversy in the present case is whether the

concerns which were highlighted in the earlier judgment of this Court dated 29

March 2019, have been adequately addressed and remedied.

20 Ms Anitha Shenoy, learned Senior Counsel appeared on behalf of the

appellant submitted that by the judgment of this Court dated 29 March 2019, the

EAC was directed to revisit the EC granted to the project and to decide whether

or not the project should be approved. Ms Shenoy prefaced her submissions with

two preliminary points:

(i) The composition of the EAC (Infrastructure-2) which has thirteen members

does not qualify it as an expert body. None of the members had expertise

on ornithology or on terrestrial eco-system. The EAC is chaired by a former

Director of the Council for Social Development with retired officers of the

State and Central Pollution Control Boards. One of the members has an

architectural background, another in chemical engineering while one of the

21
PART D

members is a Professor of Law. The minutes do not disclose whether the

EAC sought the opinion of a subject specialist or specialized institution;

and

(ii) There is a conflict of interest on the part of the EIA consultant who had

prepared the EIA report. As on the date of EAC meeting, Engineers India

Limited14 was the EIA consultant as well as an independent engineer on

the project. The EAC minutes recorded that the project proponent and EIL

made a detailed presentation on the observations of this Court with

comments and responses. EIL was defending its actions as an EIA

consultant while at the same time being an independent engineer for the

construction of the airport. This involves a conflict of interest.

Apart from addressing the above preliminary points, Ms Shenoy has urged

submissions focusing upon the following specific areas:

       (i)        Forests;

       (ii)       Western Ghats;

       (iii)      Ecologically Sensitive Areas; and

       (iv)       Absence of avi-faunal study.



21             Based on the submissions on the above four facets, Ms Shenoy has dwelt

upon mitigation measures suggested by the EAC and the need to factor in the

objections which were addressed during the process of public consultation. Ms

Shenoy urged that the EAC minutes are virtually a facsimile of the presentation

submitted by the concessionaire and that the EAC has failed to fulfill its remit of
14
EIL

22
PART D

revisiting the EC as mandated by the order of this Court. The submissions which

were addressed under each of the four heads noted above are catalogued below:

(i) Forests

In the supplementary information contained in updated Form 1, the project

proponent had disclosed a list of thirty-five proposed reserved forests

around the project site. However, there has been no collection of primary

data through remote sensing or ground truthing as required by the Airport

Guidance Manual. No impact study was carried out of the proposed project

on the newly disclosed forests. The EAC has merely recorded the fact that

the Western Ghats fall within the study area without undertaking a study of

the likely impact of the construction of the airport. The MoEF-CC, in its

affidavit before this Court, however sought to contend that the Western

Ghats are far away from the project and the impact due to the operation of

the airport would be minimal. Though there are ten villages in the taluka of

Sawantwadi in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra located in the ESAs of

the Western Ghats, no study has been conducted of their vulnerability. The

HLWG recorded that Tiger and Elephant corridors mostly fall in the ESAs

of the Western Ghats. Thus, the EAC has arrived at a conclusion that there

will be no impact on the ESAs without knowing why an ESA is proposed to

be notified and without carrying out an impact assessment. The EAC has

equated the issue of tree felling at the project site with the issue of the

impact on the 42 forests surrounding the site. However, in its summing up,

the EAC has acknowledged that compensatory forestation can never

replace a natural forest.


                                       23
                                                                                  PART D


(ii)    Impact on Western Ghats

The EAC has only adverted to the fact that the Western Ghats fall within

the study area. While accepting the presence of this critical ecological

biodiversity hotspot, the EAC has not directed any study on the impact nor

has it adverted to the likely impact of the activity. The critical significance of

the Western Ghats has been emphasized in the HLWG report. Absent a

study by the EAC, the recommendations are flawed.

(iii) Ecologically Sensitive Areas

The EAC has noted that ten villages in the taluka of Sawantwadi in

Sindhudurg district are located in the ESA of the Western Ghats. The EAC

ought to have determined what makes each ESA ecologically sensitive

and to study the reasons for their vulnerabilities. The EAC has not

endeavored to find the specific vulnerability of each ESA and has recorded

its satisfaction with a generic explanation.

(iv) Flora and Fauna

The collection of primary and secondary data of flora and fauna in the EIA

report was perfunctory. Areas which are used by protected, important or

sensitive species of flora or fauna for breeding, foraging, nesting, resting,

over-wintering or migration were not considered by the project proponent.

The EAC merely included a number of additional species, citing a

publication of the ZSI as the source, as supplied by the project proponent.

Species found near the Maharashtra – Goa border as well as those found

throughout India in forested areas show at least 1172 species. On the

other hand, the list of species submitted by the project proponent does not
24
PART D

have a single Scheduled I species despite the fact that there are 42 dense

forests around the project area. Important species such as the Indian

elephant, royal Bengal tiger and leopard have been excluded. The EAC did

not direct the carrying out of an avi-faunal study, in violation of the

directions of this Court, the only reference being to bird strikes.

22 As regards the mitigation measures proposed by the EAC, Ms Shenoy

submitted that the Airport Guidance Manual requires a rigorous study of the

impacts of a proposed airport project on the biological environment and the

measures required to address these impacts. Information relating to the state of

the environment in the 15 km. radius was submitted before the EAC without there

being any primary or secondary data collection. The EAC however came to the

conclusion that the impact would be minimal. The additional environmental

safeguards proposed by the EAC have no bearing on the peculiar conditions of

the proposed airport at Mopa. Ms Shenoy ultimately urged that no effective

mitigating measures can be implemented unless:

(i) Authentic information about flora, fauna and natural features in the study

area exists;

(ii) A scientific objective and independent assessment of the likely impact of

the proposed project is made; and

(iii) A specific finding is arrived at by the EAC on whether the damage and

impact can be mitigated.





                                           25
                                                                              PART D


D.1      Domain Expertise of the EAC


23       The first aspect which merits scrutiny is the criticism leveled by Ms Anitha

Shenoy, learned Senior Counsel against the domain expertise of the EAC. At the

outset, it is necessary to note that the EAC (Infrastructure–2 Sector) was

constituted under an order dated 7 January 2019 of the MoEF-CC. The

composition of the Committee was as follows:

(i) Prof. T Haque, Retd. Director & CEO, Council for Social Development;

(ii) Dr N P Shukla, Ex. Chairman, MPPCB, Bhopal;

(iii) Dr H C Sharatchandra, Ex. Chairman, Karnataka, SPCB;

(iv)     Sh. V Suresh, Former CMD, HUDCO;
(v)      Dr V S Naidu, Member;
(vi)     Sh. B C Nigam, Member;
(vii)    Dr Manoranian Hota, Member;
(viii)   Dr Dipankar Saha, Member;
(ix)     Dr Jayesh Ruparelia, Member;
(x)      Dr (Mrs.) Mayuri H Pandya, Member;
(xi)     Dr M V Ramana Murthy, Member;
(xii)    Representative of School of Architecture and Planning, New Delhi,
         Member (to be nominated);

(xiii) Addl. Director/Director/Advisor of MoEF& CC, Member Secretary.

24 The EAC has a vital role in conducting the appraisal of proposed projects

in terms of their environmental impact and consequences. The EAC is intended

to be an expert body. The members of the EAC are expected to bring to the

deliberations of the body their knowledge and domain expertise. The composition

of the EAC as noted above indicates that it comprises of experts with a scientific

background as well as persons having domain knowledge on matters pertaining

to the environment. Among the members of the EAC were persons who had a

background of service in the State and Central Pollution Control Boards, the

26
PART D

Indian Forest Service, MoEF-CC and the National Institute of Ocean Technology.

The constitution of the Committee cannot be faulted on the ground that as a

body, the EAC lacked domain expertise. As a Committee which deals with

infrastructure projects, the body as constituted also comprises of persons with

relevant background and experience. Ultimately, the legitimacy of the decision

which has been arrived at by the EAC will be assessed during the course of the

judgment. At this stage, we are not inclined to accept a generalized challenge on

the ground that the members of the EAC lacked domain expertise.

25 It is necessary to emphasis two facets: First, under clause 4(vii) of the

order dated 7 January 2019 constituting the EAC, the chairperson is empowered

to co-opt an expert as a member for a particular meeting of the Committee.

Infrastructure projects which the EAC is called upon to assess and appraise do

not fall into one specific mould. Hence, the EAC should engage with the enabling

provision which has been made in clause 4(vii) to co-opt experts. The exercise of

this enabling discretion will facilitate the work of the EAC by allowing for the

benefit of the knowledge and expertise of an expert in a particular subject area

being made available to it. The failure to co-opt an expert does not, as a

consequence, lead to the invalidation of the exercise conducted by the EAC. But

the desirability of co-opting experts needs to be underscored so as to bring a

diversity of experience in the work of the EAC. Second, the composition of the

EAC is dominated in a large measure by retired officials drawn from the Pollution

Control Boards in the Centre and State and from former officials of the MoEF-CC.

In the composition of the EAC, the Union Government should travel beyond

former officials of the Pollution Control Boards and Ministries. Without

27
PART D

disparaging their credentials or their experience, it is nonetheless desirable that

the members of the EAC should comprise of a cross section of persons drawn

from different specialties having a bearing on environmental protection. Where

the EAC has to deal with infrastructure projects, it is of course necessary to

include persons who are familiar with the need for a balanced growth of

infrastructure consistent with environmental protection.

26 We strongly commend to the Union Government the need to ensure in the

composition of the EAC the inclusion of persons with specialized knowledge of

diverse disciplines in relation to environmental protection. Having commended

such an exercise to the Union government, we would leave the matter there. As

we have observed earlier, the challenge to the minutes of the 23 April 2019 must

be addressed on merits, there being no reasonable basis for this Court to

conclude that the EAC lacked the expertise to make its recommendations.

D.2 Conflict of interest

27 The second preliminary point that was urged by Ms Shenoy was of a

conflict of interest in the role and position of EIL as an EIA consultant as well as

an independent engineer for the project. The Attorney General for India in his

written note of submissions on behalf of the State of Goa has submitted that EIL

was appointed as a consultant for preparing the EIA report in 2012. The

assignment of EIL concluded upon the issuance of an EC by MoEF-CC on 28

October 2015. Thereafter, the Government of Goa floated a tender for the

appointment of an independent engineer to supervise the work of construction in

2017. EIL secured the bid and came on board as an independent engineer in

28
PART D

December 2017. After the judgment of this Court dated 29 March 2019 by which

the EAC was directed to revisit the EC conditions, the Government of Goa sought

the assistance of EIL which was the author of the EIA report in presenting its

case before the EAC. Hence, from the facts which have been set-forth before the

Court by the learned Attorney General, it becomes clear that EIL was appointed

as an independent engineer for the project only after the EC had been granted on

28 October 2015 and in a competitive tendering process. The role of the

independent engineer is to supervise the construction of the airport in accordance

with the ICAO standards. Certification and licensing of the airport is in the domain

of the Director General of Civil Aviation15 of the Government of India. Compliance

with environmental conditions contained in the EC is monitored by the regional

office of the MoEF-CC at Bengaluru. Moreover, there is merit in the submission

which was urged by Ms ANS Nadkarni, learned Additional Solicitor General

appearing for the MoEF-CC that the decision in regard to the grant of an EC rests

with MoEF-CC. The fact that EIL whose services were engaged as an EIA

consultant was subsequently appointed as an independent engineer after the

initial grant of an EC will not result in the invalidation of the EC.

D.3         Western Ghats and ESAs


28          Addressing the concerns of Ms Anitha Shenoy in relation to the Western

Ghats and the ESAs, Mr Nadkarni urged that the scope of the Kasturirangan

Committee report was to suggest an all-round and holistic approach for

sustainable and equitable development while keeping in focus measures to

15
DGCA

29
PART D

conserve, protect and rejuvenate the ecology in the Western Ghats. The HLWG,

with the aid of the National Remote Sensing Centre16 developed a scientific and

objective methodology for identifying ESAs in the Western Ghats. In doing so, the

HLWG bore in mind diverse parameters including forest and vegetation types,

natural and cultural landscapes, forest fragmentation, biological richness, village

boundaries, population density, protected areas, wildlife corridors and world

heritage sites among other considerations. Ten ESAs falling within the study area

have been disclosed in the report along with mitigation measures. It was urged

that upon detailed discussion, it was found that the impact on these ESAs, as a

result of the project, would be minimal. The area where the project site is located,

it was urged, has not been identified as an ESA. The nearest village identified in

the State of Maharashtra – Galel – is at an aerial distance of 4.1 km from the

boundary of the project site. Mr Nadkarni rebutted the contention that the project

would impinge upon wildlife corridors. The nearest identified corridor, it was

submitted, is on the boundary of the States of Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra

which is far away from the project site.

29 Volume-I of the report of the Kasturirangan Committee on the Western

Ghats dated 15 April 2013 contains a summary of the recommendations. The

report notes that the Western Ghats region straddles six states of which 60,000

square kms representing 37 per cent of the geographical coverage of the

Western Ghats has been identified as an ESA. In that context, the report notes:

“About 60,000 km2 of natural landscape (approximately 37%
of the total geographical area of Western Ghats Region) has
been identified as Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) by

16
NRSC

30
PART D

HLWG, which represents more or less a contiguous band of
vegetation extending over a distance of 1500 km across 6
States of Western Ghats region and includes Protected Areas
and World Heritage Sites. The demarcation unit of ESA is the
village. IRS LISS III derived spatial layers on vegetation type
and landscape level indices (with a fine spatial resolution of
24 m) were used as the basis for identification of ecologically
sensitive areas (ESAs).

To facilitate sustainable development in the WG region, which
is inhabited by about 50 million people, the non ESA
comprising mostly cultural landscape is also demarcated.

HLWG recommends that the Central government should
immediately notify the ESA area, demarcated by HLWG in
public interest. The need for urgent action is evident. In this
notified area, development restrictions as recommended in
this report will apply.”

In its recommendations dealing with restrictions on development in the proposed

ESAs, the report notes:

“HLWG is recommending a prohibitory and regulatory regime
in ESA for those activities with maximum interventionist and
destructive impact on the ecosystem. All other infrastructure
development activities, necessary for the region, will be
carefully scrutinized and assessed for cumulative impact and
development needs, before clearance.”

Among the recommendations of the HLWG are the following:

“All other infrastructure and development projects/schemes
should be subject to environment clearance under Category
„A‟ projects under EIA Notification 2006.

All development projects, located within 10 km of the Western
Ghats ESA and requiring Environment Clearance (EC), shall
be regulated as per the provisions of the EIA Notification
2006.”

31
PART D

30 Chapter IV of the Kasturirangan Committee report explained the procedure

adopted to define and demarcate the boundaries of the Western Ghats for

identifying ESAs, in the absence of an accepted definition of Western Ghats.

Chapter V dealt with the need for a scientific, objective and practical strategy for

delineating ESAs within the natural landscape with the village as a unit. In that

context, the report notes:

“The results obtained based on the methodology adopted by
HLWG are analyzed for 188 talukas in terms of the area
covered under ESAs and number of villages falling under
ESA. Maps of Western Ghats showing vegetation and land
cover classes, natural and cultural landscapes, biodiversity
richness, fragmentation and human population density and
ESA, and Maps of each of Six States showing natural and
cultural landscapes and ESAs are also provided.”

Chapter III of the report analyses the impact of climate change on the ecology of

the Western Ghats. Explaining the criteria which it had adopted in demarcating

the Western Ghats, the report of the Kasturirangan Committee report notes :

“HLWG, in the absence of geologically and gemorphologically
sound criteria in demarcating WG, decided to adopt the
criteria followed by the Western Ghats Development
Programme of Planning Commission which defined WG in
terms of geology conceptually, but has taken altitude as the
criterion for identification of talukas/blocks under Western
Ghats Development Programme of Planning Commission as
recommended by High Level Committee, because the Ghats
are usually 760-915 m high. All those talukas/blocks at 600 m
and above elevation and those talukas having more than 20%
of the area at 600 m and above elevation that are contiguous
to higher altitudes and formed part of the administrative
boundaries of Western Ghats Development Programme are
listed under Western Ghats Development Programme. This
criterion has geological connotation – that at 600 m on the
east the WG springs from Deccan Plateau, on an average the
mean elevation of WG all along its length from north to south

32
PART D

is greater than 600 m, and most of the Ghats have height of
over 600 m.”

31 Adverting to the biodiversity of the Western Ghats, the report notes:

“The Western Ghats has unique taxonomic hierarchies,
remnant ecosystems and strong endemic associations. The
sholas, mangroves, kans, dry evergreen forests, swamps,
reeds and riverine belts represent the unique ecosystems.

The forests of WG are some of the best representatives of
non-equatorial evergreen forests in the world. The resource
value of this mega diversity centre spans from timber-non
timber category through wilderness–ecotourism to gene pools
of plants of medicinal-aromatic-food-industrial value…

Floristically the Western Ghats is one of the richest areas in
the country and harbours as many as 4000-4600 species of
flowering plants of which 56 generic and 2100 species are
endemic.”

32 The HLWG has catalogued three talukas of Goa as ESAs. These are

tabulated as follows:

State          District        Taluka             Taluka        ESA            No.      of
                                                  Area                         Villages
                                                  (km2 )                       with ESA
Goa            North Goa       Satari             515           406            56
               South Goa       Kankon             362           284            5
                               Sanguem            872           771            38

Goa                                               1,749         1,461          99
Total




In the district of Sindhudurg in Maharashtra, five talukas namely: Devgad,

Kankavli, Kudal, Sawantwadi and Vaibhavvadi have been demarcated as ESAs.

33

PART D

33 Figure 18 in the report of the HLWG which demarcates Elephant and Tiger

corridors which is reproduced below:

34
PART D

34 Figure 21 delineates the natural and cultural landscapes in the Western

Ghats region of Goa and is reproduced below:

35
PART D

35 The ESAs in the Western Ghats region of Goa are depicted in Figure 22 of

the Kasturirangan Committee report which is as follows:

36
PART D

36 Figure 23 provides a depiction of the natural and cultural landscapes in the

Western Ghats region of Maharashtra, which is as follows:





                                       37
                                                                              PART D


D.4     Forestland and flora and fauna


37      The criticism leveled against the recommendations of the EAC in its

appraisal of the impact of the project on forested areas has been dealt with in the

submissions as follows:

(i) Details of forested land as marked in working plans were obtained by the

project proponent from the Governments of Goa and Maharashtra, details

of which have been recorded by the EAC in its minutes of 23 April 2019,

within a 15 km. radial distance from the project site;

(ii) Concerns about non-disclosure were addressed by the project proponent

by giving details of forests with impacts and mitigation measures;

(iii) Remote sensing has been done by the project proponent as mentioned in

Annexure IX of the EIA report. Ground truthing is usually done on site,

performing surface observations and measurements of various properties

and features of the ground on the remotely sensed digital image. In this

case, the airport operation is within the boundaries of the project site and

details of forest, springs, wetlands etc. were also given and discussed in

the EAC; and

(iv) Impact of the airport operations on the air and noise environment will

generally extend until an aircraft gains a height of 1000 feet. According to

the Airport Guidance Manual, emissions from aircraft at a height upto a

1000 feet above ground will extend typically around 3 km from departure

or, in the case of arrivals 6 km from touchdown. Since the airport site is at

a height of 155 metres above MSL, the aircraft will gain a height of 1000

38
PART D

feet during departure within the project site. Aircraft operations follow a

dedicated path called the funnel, which in this case has an east-west

orientation for landing and takeoff. The impact on forests which are

primarily on the northern and southern sides of the airport site in Goa and

Maharashtra and their ecological features will be minimal. The project

proponent has relied on a Google image of the Mopa region indicating a

super imposed flight path for landing and takeoff at the airport which is

extracted below:

Similarly, an image indicating the location of all ESAs within 10 km. radius of

Mopa airport has been relied upon by the project proponent:

39
PART D

38 The criticism that the EAC has conflated the issue of the felling of trees

with the environmental impact on 42 forests has been addressed in the

submissions placed before this Court by Mr ANS Nadkarni, learned Additional

Solicitor General appearing for MoEF-CC. It has been submitted that:

(i) The forest eco-system comprises mainly of flora and fauna in the

environmental settings of air, water and land. The impacts of all these

elements have been assessed and mitigation measures have been

proposed;

(ii) The EAC took due cognizance of the presence of forest land and also

observed that though a significant number of trees were required to be

felled, this was a requirement in the wake of an identified project site. In

40
PART D

that context, it made a reference to the compensatory afforestation

programme required in the ratio of 1:10;

(iii) The EAC has noted that the airport site does not fragment the forest areas

and does not restrict the movement of fauna. The airport site is

predominantly a plateau and the forest cover is not contiguous to it. With a

boundary wall surrounding the airport, there is no possibility of animals

being endangered by entry into the project site;

(iv) The impact of airport operations on the soil and water environment has

also been assessed and necessary measures put into place by the EAC

for protection and conservation; and

(v) Nearly 3 lakh trees are to be planted: 50,000 at the site and 2,50,000 in

nearby villages within 15 km duly supervised by the Biodiversity board.

Besides this, another 2,50,000 trees are to be planted and monitored by

the DGCA. The EAC has mandated the plantation of native species and

fruit bearing saplings to enable residents depending on agriculture to

derive economic benefits while at the same time preserving the biological

environment to birds.

39 MoEF-CC has also responded to the criticism against the approach

adopted by the EAC in regard to avi-faunal studies and data. According to the

submission, the project proponent presented data drawn from the ZSI and other

sources. It has been submitted that the appellant while referring to the fauna

species from ZSI data has referred to “external distribution” in most cases.

However, ZSI data categorically mentions the “sighting area/localities” where

specific species have been actually sighted; all these locations are notably far

41
PART D

away from the project site. Moreover, as an example, it has been submitted that

the appellant in adverting to the sighting of leopards in Goa and Maharashtra did

not limit the submissions to the study area but to the entire territory of the States

of Maharashtra and Goa. ZSI studies on the fauna of Maharashtra records

leopard sightings in places like the Melghat Tiger Reserve, Tadoba-Andhari Tiger

Reserve, Pench National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Bhimashankar

Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Phansad Wildlife Sanctuary among others. None of

these sites fall within the study area. Similarly, the ZSI publication on fauna of

Goa records sightings of leopards in places like Molem National Park, Cotigao

Wildlife Sanctuary and Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, not of which fall within the

study area. Moreover, in the Wildlife Institute of India17 report (2010), the

presence of tigers has been recorded in Molem Wildlife Sanctuary and in the

forests of Ponda and Sanguen Tehsil which are not within a 10 km radius of

proposed Mopa airport. Relevant data drawn from the WII and the Wildlife Trust

of India (2017) on the presence of tigers and elephants has been relied upon.

40 The submission which has been urged on behalf of MoEF-CC is that the

distance of the ESA/ESZ is a prime factor in determining the likely impact of the

project activities on the environment. On examination by the EAC, it has been

found that neither the project site nor the villages under the study area fall in any

ESZ. Moreover, of the 10 ESA villages in Maharashtra falling within a 10 km.

radius of the project site, the nearest village (Galel) is about 4.1 kms from the

boundary of the project and is located in the northern direction. The runway of the

proposed airport has an east-west orientation. Beyond the runway of 3.75 km.,

17
WII

42
PART D

flight operations at an altitude of about 1000 feet would have a minimally adverse

impact on the flora and fauna surrounding the airport. Moreover, the common

faunal species would primarily be restricted to the forest areas. The proposed

airport site is not home to any of these species. It was, in this context that the

EAC has observed that the project site does not fragment any forest area. The

mitigation measures proposed in the EC conditions as well as the NGT directions

stipulate measures for minimizing the impact on biodiversity. The project

proponent would be bound to follow DGCA and ICAO aircraft strike hazard

management guidelines including the setting up of an Airfield Environment

Management Committee. Moreover, it has been submitted that EIL had stated

the migration status of various species of birds in the EIA report. This information

was updated with regard to the migratory status of additional fauna found in the

study area in supplementary Form 1. However, no set routes of flyways were

observed near the airport site. DGCA has published the National Aviation Safety

Plan 2018-2020 emphasizing avi-faunal and wildlife management in airports.

MoEF-CC has annexed to its submissions, DGCA circulars/directions on the

following aspects which would have to be implemented by the concessionaire:

a) Climate Change Initiatives and Local Air Quality Monitoring in Civil

Aviation, 2015;

b) Noise Management of Aircraft Operations at Airports, 2014;

c) Carbon Off-setting and reduction scheme for International Aviation;

d) Guidance on Wildlife Hazard Management;

e) National Aviation Safety Plan, 2018-2020, 2019.
43
PART D

41 In regard to the concerns which emerged during the course of the public

consultation, it has been submitted by MoEF-CC that the updated report

submitted by the project proponent took into account these concerns which

primarily are comprised within two categories (environment and livelihood). The

project proponent made a detailed presentation before the EAC on these

concerns and the action plans were discussed in the EAC meeting. The EAC has

stipulated the implementation of the environment management plan for

addressing the concerns which were raised during the course of the public

hearing. According to the Airport Guidance Manual, the concerns of the public

which were expressed during public consultation must be addressed by the

applicant either through an updated EIA and EMP or through a supplementary

report. The project proponent has done so through updated information.

42 During the course of the judgment which was rendered by this Court on 29

March 2019, certain flaws were noticed in the process leading up to the grant of

an EC on 28 October 2015. The project proponent had not complied with its

obligation to make a full disclosure of information on material aspects of the

environment in Form 1 as an intrinsic part of the EIA process. This Court

specifically recorded its concerns on vital aspects which had not been adequately

addressed by the EAC. Having noticed the flaws in the process and the

deficiencies in the decision making process of the EAC, the Court directed the

EAC to revisit the recommendations made by it for the grant of an EC including

the conditions which it had formulated, having regard to the specific concerns

which were highlighted in the judgment. Thereafter if the EAC were to allow the

construction to proceed, it was directed to impose additional conditions to protect

44
PART D

the terrestrial eco-systems. The EAC was under a specific mandate to lay down

conditions pertaining to air, water, noise, land and the biological and socio-

economic environment. During the course of this judgment, we have traced the

process as it evolved before the EAC following the earlier directions of this Court.

The net result of the process is that the concessionaire has been subjected to a

slew of mitigatory conditions: 53 in the original EC, 16 at the behest of NGT and

40 imposed by the EAC in the second round. On a reading of the process leading

upto the present proceeding, it cannot be said that the EAC has, in its appraisal

process, ignored the concerns which were highlighted by this Court. Ms Anitha

Shenoy, learned Senior Counsel, as we have noted earlier, focursed her

submissions on four areas namely (i) Forests; (ii) ESAs; (iii) Western Ghats; and

(iv) Flora and Fauna. The EAC has adequately addressed these concerns and

laid down additional conditions to ensure the adequate protection of the

environment.

43 The Airport Guidance Manual published by MoEF in February 2010

contains significant points for guidance having a bearing on the controversy

which has been raised in the present case. In relation to the study area, the

Manual states:

“Primary data through measurements and field surveys; and
secondary data from secondary sources are to be collected in
the study area within 10 km radius from Aerodrome
Reference Point (ARP). Primary data should cover one
season other than monsoon and secondary data is to cover
one full year. The basis for selection of these criteria is that
the aircraft gains a height of 1000ft in this area below which
noise and air pollution are generated maximum during its take
off stage. Secondary data should be collected within 15 km
aerial distance for the parameters as specifically mentioned at
column 9 (III) of Form I of EIA Notification, 2006. Details of

45
PART D

secondary data, the method of collection of secondary data,
should be furnished. Similarly the proposed locations of
monitoring stations of water, air, soil and noise etc should be
shown on the study area map.”

The study area in other words, comprises of a radial distance of 10 kms. from the

Aerodrome Reference Point. The Manual indicates that the basis for selection of

the criteria is that an aircraft gains a height of 1000 feet in this area and the

maximum impact of noise and air pollution is generated during the takeoff stage.

The Aircraft Guidance Manual also states that:

“Aircraft engines produce emissions that are similar to other
emissions resulting from any oil based fuel combustion.

These, like any exhaust emissions, can affect local air quality
at ground level. It is emissions from aircraft below 1,000ft,
above the ground (typically around 3km from departure or, for
arrivals, around 6km from touchdown) that are chiefly
involved in influencing local air quality.”

This is again emphasized in the following extract:

“Ambient Air Quality (AAQ) is important for the airport
projects. The significance of aviation’s impact on air quality
will vary depending on many other factors such as,
background pollution levels, other sources of pollution,
weather and proximity of residential areas.

Aircraft engines produce emissions that are similar to other
emissions resulting from any oil based fuel combustion.
These, like any exhaust emissions, can affect local air quality
at ground level. It is emissions from aircraft below 1,000ft,
above the ground (typically around 3km from departure or, for
arrivals, around 6km from touchdown that are chiefly involved
in influencing local air quality. These emissions disperse with
the wind and blend with emissions from other sources such
as domestic heating emissions, factory emissions and
transport pollution.

46

PART D

The local air quality relevant emissions attributed to aircraft
operations at airports are oxides of nitrogen (NOx), carbon
monoxide (CO), Unburnt hydrocarbons (NMHC and VOCs),
sulphur dioxide(SO2), particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5).

Aircraft engines, auxiliary power units, apron vehicles, de-
icing, and apron spillages of fuel and chemicals emit these
pollutants. Local factors influence the significance of
individual emissions for each airport, but often NOx is by far
the most abundant and is considered the most significant
pollutant from an air quality stand point.

Baseline data of these parameters extending over an area of
10km radial distance from ARP of the project by observation
at a number of locations, predominantly in the windward
direction duly taking into account changes in predominant
wind direction in the monsoon period and changes in humidity
in atmosphere. Specific importance is to be attached to areas
in close proximity of project up to 3km is essential,
considering the mobile source of emission such as aircraft.”

44 A comprehensive process has been followed by the EAC bearing in mind

the requirements of the Airport Guidance Manual. The EAC took note of the

presence of reserved forests and of ESAs in the Western Ghats and deliberated

on the impact of the construction and operation of the proposed airport on flora or

fauna, hydrological systems and climatic variations. The process which has been

adopted by the EAC and its ultimate conclusions must be scrutinized, in the

course of judicial review, in the context of the limitations which are attached to the

court conducting a merits based review. In Lafarge Umiam Mining Private

Limited v Union of India,18 an application was made under the 1994 EIA

notification for the grant of an EC to a proposed limestone mining project at

18
(2011) 7 SCC 338

47
PART D

Nongtrai Village, East Khasi Hills District Meghalaya. EC was granted for the

project in 2001. A three judge Bench of this Court rejected the challenge and

upheld the grant of the EC for the proposed project. Chief Justice S H Kapadia,

speaking for the Court, formulated the standard of judicial review which must be

applied in cases relating to the environment in the following terms:

“In the circumstances, barring exceptions, decisions relating
to utilisation of natural resources have to be tested on the
anvil of the well-recognised principles of judicial review. Have
all the relevant factors been taken into account? Have any
extraneous factors influenced the decision? Is the decision
strictly in accordance with the legislative policy underlying the
law (if any) that governs the field? Is the decision consistent
with the principles of sustainable development in the sense
that has the decision-maker taken into account the said
principle and, on the basis of relevant considerations, arrived
at a balanced decision? Thus, the Court should review the
decision-making process to ensure that the decision of MoEF
is fair and fully informed, based on the correct principles, and
free from any bias or restraint.”

The EAC has accounted for the relevant factors outlined by this Court in its

previous judgment in the assessment leading to the grant of the EC.

45 The evaluation of merits is a matter which primarily rests with an expert

authority. The court can certainly supervise procedural compliance and ensure

that all necessary inputs which are required to be factored into the decision-

making process have been duly borne in mind. Once this has been done, the

court must be circumspect in micro-managing the decision-making process by

the EAC by substituting its own opinion for that of the EAC. Undoubtedly, no

process can be perfect or free from studied criticism. Ms Anitha Shenoy, learned

Senior Counsel has attempted to perform such an exercise when she submitted

that the collection of primary faunal data from a nearby village and secondary
48
PART E

data from ZSI sources was not an adequate means of dealing with the concerns

expressed by this Court. In assessing these criticisms, we must equally be

cognizant of the fact that by the judgment of this Court dated 29 March 2019, the

EAC was required to carry out the exercise within a period of one month from the

receipt of the order of this Court. The Court did not quash the EC but directed

that it should remain under suspension until the EAC revisited its

recommendations in the light of the concerns which were expressed by this

Court. Having assessed the process which took place following the judgment of

this Court and the outcome, it would be difficult for this Court to hold that it fails to

meet the standards which the court applies in the course of judicial review in

environmental matters.

E      Directions


46     For the above reasons, the minutes of the meeting of the EAC dated 23

April 2019 are taken on record as prayed for. The additional conditions which

have been imposed by the EAC shall, together with the original conditions of the

EC dated 28 October 2015 and the directions issued by the NGT be cumulatively

observed. The conditions cumulatively imposed for the grant of an EC, have been

set out below:

I. Conditions imposed by the EC dated 28 October 2015
A. SPECIFIC CONDITIONS:

(i) „Consent to Establish‟ shall be obtained from State
Pollution Control Board under the Air (Prevention and
Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and the Water (Prevention
and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

(ii) The Project Proponent shall ensure availability of
adequate land at the junction of the Mopa Airport road

49
PART E

and Mumbai/Goa NH-17 for traffic
circulation/management and to provide for all the traffic
interchanges and proposed clover.

(iii) The approach and exit roads to the Airport shall be
approved from the NHA land should be according to IRC
norms.

(iv) A perusal of the Topo sheet superimposed on the runway
area indicates that the extreme end of the runway is
covering the drainage area partly. The drainage area
which is under the runway shall be channelized. The area
between the parallel taxiway and runway shall be handled
carefully to drain the water from the area in the outfall 2.

(v) The PP shall submit the site clearance certificate from
Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), before
commencement of work at the project site.

(vi) Sewage and other liquid effluent generated from the
airport including from the existing terminal should be
treated according to the norms laid down by the State
Pollution Control Board. The treated sewage shall be
recycled for flushing/gardening. Proper Dual plumbing
shall be provided.

(vii) The solid waste generated shall be properly collected,
segregated and disposed according to the provisions of
Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000.
The project proponent shall make provisions for drinking
water at convenient places for passengers and also at the
cafeterias as to reduce generation of solid wastes
including PET bottles.

(viii) Installation and operation of DG sets shall comply with the
guidelines of CPCB.

(ix) Parking provision shall be provided according to the
National Building Code of India, 2005.

(x) Water conservation fixtures shall be provided and water
balance shall be maintained through verifiable metering
for fresh raw water, recycled as well as rain water
harvesting.

(xi) Necessary permission shall be obtained for drawing of
ground water from competent authority prior to
construction/ operation of the project.

(xii) The land use around the Airport complex shall be
regulated through a plan to control unauthorized
development which may create problems in the operation
of the Airport.

50
PART E

(xiii) The wastewater from hangers shall be tested for presence
of heavy metals, if any, and shall be treated in STP. The
treated waste water shall be used for gardening/ flushing.

(xiv) Rain water harvesting shall be provided to recharge the
ground water.

(xv) Energy conservation to the extent of at least 20% shall be
incorporated including water conservation (reuse/ recycle,
rain water harvesting and water efficient fixtures) and
other green building practices for various buildings
proposed within the airport complex. The PP shall
consider ECBC Guidelines 2009 to achieve energy
efficiency. The energy conservation measures shall be
subject to periodic verification by the competent Energy
Conservation/Efficiency authority in the State.

(xvi) The project proponent shall prepare a detailed traffic
management plan to take care of increased vehicular
traffic which should also cover/clearly delineate
widening/increasing the existing roads and associated
road infrastructure approving/installation of road safety
features/pedestrian facility/FOB/under passes etc (that
can be done by carrying out road safety audits).
Measures shall be taken to prevent encroachment
along/within the ROWs on connecting/main arterial roads.

(xvii) All the recommendations of the EMP shall be complied
with in letter and spirit. All the mitigation measures
submitted in the EIA report shall be prepared in a matrix
format and the compliance for each mitigation plan shall
be submitted to RO, MoEF&CC along with half yearly
compliance report.

(xviii) The responses/commitments made during public hearing
shall be complied with in letter and spirit.

(xix) Project Proponent shall install noise level display system.

Noise level shall be monitored regularly in all seasons
(different meteorological conditions) within the compound
as well as nearby habitations and it shall be ensured that
the noise level is within the prescribed limits. During night
time the noise levels measured at the boundary shall be
restricted to the permissible levels to comply with the
prevalent regulations.

(xx) The location of monitoring stations and monitoring of
noise level during day and night shall be in accordance
with the CPCB guidance document “Requirement and
procedure for monitoring Ambient Noise Level due to
aircraft” published on 25th June 2008.

51
PART E

(xxi) Construction spoils, including bituminous material and
other hazardous materials, must not be allowed to
contaminate watercourses and the dumpsites for such
material must be secured so that they should not leach
into the ground water.

(xxii) Any hazardous waste generated during construction
phase, should be disposed off as per applicable rules and
norms with necessary approval of the SPCB.

(xxiii) Under the provision of Environment (Protection) Act,
1986, legal action shall be initiated against the project
proponent if it was found that construction of the project
has been started without obtaining environmental
clearance.

(xxiv) The project proponent will set up separate environmental
management cell for effective implementation of the
stipulated environmental safeguards under the
supervision of a Senior Executive.

(xxv) Corporate Environment Responsibility:

a) The Company shall have a well laid down
Environment Policy approved by the Board of
Directors.

b) The Environment Policy shall prescribe for standard
operating Process/procedures to bring into focus any
infringements/deviation/violation of the environmental
or forest norms/conditions.

c) The hierarchical system or Administrative Order of the
company to deal with environmental issues and for
ensuring compliance with the environmental clearance
conditions shall be furnished.

d) To have proper checks and balances, the company
shall have a well laid down system of reporting of non-
compliances/violations of environmental norms to the
Board of Directors of the company and/or
shareholders or stakeholders at large.

B. GENERAL CONDITIONS:

(i) Provision shall be made for the housing of
construction labour within the site with all necessary
infrastructure and facilities such as fuel for cooking,
mobile toilets, mobile STP, safe drinking water,
medical health care, creche etc. The housing may
be in the form of temporary structures to be
removed after the completion of the project.

(ii) A First Aid Room will be provided in the project both
during construction and operation of the project.

52

PART E

(iii) All the topsoil excavated during construction
activities should be stored for use in
horticulture/landscape development within the
project site.

(iv) Disposal of muck during construction phase should
not create any adverse effect on the neighbouring
communities and be disposed taking the necessary
precautions for general safety and health aspects of
people, only in approved sites with the approval of
competent authority.

(v) The diesel generator sets to be used during
construction phase should below Sulphur diesel
type and should conform to Environment
(Protection) Rules prescribed for air and noise
emission standards. The diesel required for
operating DG sets shall be stored in underground
tanks and if required clearance from Chief Controller
of Explosives shall be taken.

(vi) Vehicles hired for bringing construction material to
the site should be in good condition and should
have a pollution check certificate and should
conform to applicable air and noise emission
standards and should be operated only during non-
peak hours.

(vii) Fly ash usage shall be explored as building material
in the construction as per the provisions of Fly Ash
Notification of September, 1999 and amended as on
27th August, 2003.

(viii) Ready mixed concrete must be used in building
construction.

(ix) Storm water control and its re-use as per CGWB and
BIS standards for various applications.

(x) Water demand during construction should be
reduced by use of pre-mixed concrete, curing
agents and other best practices referred.

(xi) Separation of grey and black water should be done
by the use of dual plumbing line for separation of
grey and black water.

(xii) Use of glass may be reduced by upto 40% to reduce
the electricity consumption and load on air-
conditioning. If necessary, use high quality double
glass with special reflective coating in windows.

53
PART E

(xiii) Roof should meet prescriptive requirement as per
Energy Conservation Building Code by using
appropriate thermal insulation material to fulfill
requirement.

(xiv) Opaque wall should meet prescriptive requirement as
per Energy Conservation Building Code which is
proposed to be mandatory for all air-conditioned
spaces while it is aspirational for non-air-conditioned
spaces by use of appropriate thermal insulation
material to fulfil requirement.

(xv) The green belt of the adequate width and density
preferably with local species along the periphery of
the plot shall be raised as to provide protection
against particulars and noise.

(xvi) Traffic congestion near the entry and exit points from
the roads adjoining the proposed project site must
be avoided. Parking should be fully internalized and
no public space should be utilized.

(xvii) The construction of the structures shall be
undertaken as per the plans approved by the
concerned local authorities/local administration,
meticulously conforming to the existing local and
central rules and regulations.

(xviii) The construction material shall be obtained only
from approved quarries. In case new quarries are to
be opened, specific approvals from the competent
authority shall be obtained in this regard.

(xix) Adequate precautions shall be taken during
transportation of the construction material so that it
does not affect the environment adversely.

(xx) Full support shall be extended to the officers of this
Ministry/Regional Office by the project proponent
during inspection of the project for monitoring
purposes by furnishing full details and action plan
including action taken reports in respect of
mitigation measures and other environmental
protection activities.

(xxi) A six-monthly monitoring report shall need to be
submitted by the project proponents to the Regional
Office of this Ministry regarding the implementation
of the stipulated conditions.

(xxii) Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change or
any other competent authority may stipulate any

54
PART E

additional conditions or modify the existing ones, if
necessary in the interest of environment and the
same shall be complied with.

(xxiii) The Ministry reserves the right to revoke this
clearance if any of the conditions stipulated are not
complied with the satisfaction of the Ministry.

(xxiv) In the event of a change in project profile or change
in the implementation agency, a fresh reference
shall be made to the Ministry of Environment, Forest
& Climate Change.

(xxv) The project proponents shall inform the Regional
Office as well as the Ministry, the date of financial
closure and final approval of the project by the
concerned authorities and the date of start of land
development work.

(xxvi) A copy of the clearance letter shall be marked to
concerned Panchayat local NGO, if any, from whom
any suggestion/representation has been made
received while processing the proposal.

(xxvii) A copy of the environmental clearance letter shall
also be displayed on the website of the concerned
State Pollution Control Board. The EC letter shall
also be displayed at the Regional office, District
Industries centre and Collector‟s office/Tehsildar‟s
office for 30 days.

(xxviii) The funds earmarked for environmental protection
measures shall be kept in separate account and
shall not be diverted for other purpose. Year-wise
expenditure shall be reported to this Ministry and its
concerned Regional Office.

5 These stipulations would be enforced among others
under the provisions of Water (Prevention and
Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Air (Prevention
and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the Environment
(Protection) Act
, 1986, the Public Liability
(Insurance) Act
, 1991 and EIA Notification 2006,
including the amendments and rules made
thereafter.

6 All other statutory clearances such as the approvals
for storage of diesel from Chief Controller of
Explosives, Fire Department, Civil Aviation
Department, Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and
Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 etc. shall be obtained,

55
PART E

as applicable by project proponents from the
respective competent authorities.

7 The project proponent shall advertise in at least two
local Newspapers widely circulated in the region,
one of which shall be in the vernacular language
informing that the project has been accorded
Environmental Clearance and copies of clearance
letters are available with the State Pollution Control
Board and may also be seen on the website of the
Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change
at http://www.envfor.nic.in. The advertisement
should be made within seven days from the date of
receipt of the Clearance letter and a copy of the
same should be forwarded to the Regional Office of
this Ministry.

9 Status of compliance to the various stipulated
environmental conditions and environmental
safeguards will be uploaded by the project
proponent in its website.”

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PART E

II. Conditions imposed by the NGT in its order dated 21 August 2018
A. AIR ENVIRONMENT

1. Total Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM),
Respirable Particulate Matter (RPM) during construction
phase and un-burnet and Hydro Carbons (HC), Lead (Pb),
CO2, SO2, CO2, SOOT and Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx)
during operation phase are going to be major pollutants in
this kind of project, Besides, fugitive emissions of Volatile
Organic Compounds (VOC) during fuel handling can be
another issue for ambient air environment. The provision
of only 6 (six) Air Quality Monitoring Stations is
inadequate as sampling duration has been given as „twice
a week, 4 weeks in a season as per CPCB standards for
NAAQM, 1994. It would be appropriate if the Project
Proponent establishes real time online continuous Air
Quality Monitoring Station also which is connected to
CPCB server and capable of monitoring all relevant and
critical parameters and mitigation measures taken.

2. Although all parameters w.r.t. ambient air
parameters have been found to be within limits for all 6
(six) locations monitored, we feel for the purpose of
giving/depicting holistic picture with regard to ambient air
in the area, at least 3 (three) more locations falling in the
State of Maharashtra be also monitored and documented.

B. WATER ENVIRONMENT

1. Only two number of Rain Water Harvesting pits
have been provided which we feel are not adequate and
there is a need to place other pits at such locations as to
capture all the excess drainage for water-recharge.

2. More frequent Water Quality Monitoring i.e.once
every month may be carried out by Project Proponent at
bore wells and STP discharge plants instead of 4 (four)
times in a year as proposed.

C. NOISE ENVIRONMENT

1. It has been proposed that ambient noise levels
shall be monitored around the premises of airport, near
DG sets and at main entrance/boundary of airport once a
week at 7 (seven) locations which we feel are inadequate.
Besides these, continuous monitoring of occupational
noise exposure limits in such industrial environments
would be appropriate with audible or visual alarm output
capability.

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PART E

2. Integrated Noise Model (INM) be more frequently
used and mitigation undertaken during the operational
phase of project at regular intervals.

3. Although ambient noise levels have been found to be
within limits at 9 (nine) locations monitored, we feel for the
purpose of giving/depicting holistic picture with regard to
ambient noise levels in the area, at least 3 (three) more
locations falling in the State of Maharashtra be also
monitored and documented.

D. LAND ENVIRONMENT

1. There is a potential for impact on soil quality due
to project related spills and leaks of fuel and chemicals
and uncontrolled disposal of wastes and waste water.
Adequate care be taken to avoid spills and leaks of
hazardous substances and all project related wastes.
Littering on sites and beyond the sites needs to be
adequately prevented and controlled.

2. Debris and Muck Management Plan to be prepared and
implemented so as to avoid spillage of muck and debris
on the slopes.

3. Soil conservation and stabilization measures needs to
be undertaken by deploying both mechanical and bio-
engineering methods.

4. Remediation, restoration and compensation needs to
be integral part of policy so as to provide adequate relief
for any environmental or project related disasters.

E. BIOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT

1. Efforts be made to transplant the trees to other
locations in the same vicinity by using appropriate
mechanical devices which are available these days.

2. Efforts be made to plant indigenous species which are
tall in size rather than small saplings.

3. Concerns have been raised by appellants with
regard to plant species „Dipcadi concanense‟ which has
been claimed to be a threatened plant. This claim of the
appellants have been negated by the respondent by
producing a documentation of Botanical Survey of India,
Western Regional Centre, Pune, Maharashtra titled as „A
Note on Occurrence and Distribution of Dipcadi
Concanense”. By invoking Precautionary Principle, we
direct the Project Proponent to draw up a Conservancy by
Plan/Scheme for „Dipcadi concanense‟ in collaboration

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PART E

with Forest Department, State of Goa and Botanical
Survey of India and ensure its implementation.

F. Socio-Economic Environment
1 Adequate drills with respect to implementation of
Disaster Management plan needs to be carried out at
regular intervals so as to ensure preparedness and
rapid response to any disasters both man made or
natural.

2 Although „Disaster Management Plan‟ as Annexure-II
is part of EIA Report under the sub head 1.2.1-
National Disasters needs further elaboration
especially in terms of Emergency Response
Measures, Rules and Responsibility, Mitigation, etc.”

III. Conditions imposed in the revised assessment of the EAC dated 23 April 2019

I. STATUTORY COMPLIANCE:

(i) The project proponent shall obtain certificate from
Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of State through
State Government that none of the area of the
project falls in the notified Eco-sensitive Zone
(ESZ) and no activity prohibited in the Eco-
sensitive Zone will be taken up.

(ii) The project proponent shall obtain Consent to
Establish/Operate under the provisions of Air
(Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 and
the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act,
1974 from the concerned State Pollution Control
Board/Committee.

(iii) The project proponent shall obtain necessary
permission from the competent authority for
drawing of water from Tillari Irrigation Canal.

           II.     AIR        QUALITY         MONITORING         AND
                   PRESERVATION:
           (i)     The project proponent shall install system to carry
                   out Ambient Air Quality monitoring for

common/criterion parameters relevant to the main
pollutants released (e.g. PM 10 and PM 2.5 in
reference to PM emission and SO2, and NOx in
reference to SO2 and NOx emissions) within and
outside the airport area covering upwind and
downwind directions.

(ii) Notification GSR 94€ dated 25.01.2018 of
MoEF&CC regarding Mandatory Implementation
of Dust Mitigation Measures for Construction and
Demolition Activities shall be complied with.

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PART E

(iii) Soil and other construction materials should be
sprayed with water prior to any loading, unloading
or transfer operation so as to maintain the dusty
material wet.

(iv) The excavation working area should be sprayed
with water after operation so as to maintain the
entire surface wet.

(v) Excavated materials shall be handled and
transported in a manner that they do not cause
any air pollution.

(vi) The soil/construction materials carried by the
vehicle should be covered by impervous sheeting
to avoid leaking of the dusty materials.

III.     WATER         QUALITY       MONITORING          AND
         PRESERVATION:
(i)      Appropriate drainage channels need to be

designed to take care of the water flow into the
nearest water courses/rivers, etc.

(ii) It should be ensured that sustainable water flow in
the various channels of watershed in the plateau
is maintained.

(iii) Storm water drains are to be built for discharging
storm water from the air-field to avoid
flooding/water logging in project area. Domestic
and industrial waste water shall not be allowed to
be discharged into the storm water drains and
directed to STP for treatment.

(iv) Proper drainage systems, emergency containment
in the event of a major spill during monsoon
season etc. shall be provided.

(v) The runoff from paved structures like Aprons can
be routed through drains to oil separation tanks
and sedimentation basins before being discharged
into rainwater harvesting structures.

(vi) Run off from chemicals and other contaminants
from aircraft maintenance and other areas within
the airport shall be suitably contained and treated
before disposal. A spillage and containment plan
shall be drawn up and implemented to the
satisfaction of the State Pollution Control Board.

(vii) The project activity shall conform to the General
Standards for Discharge of Environmental
Pollutants notified in the Environment (Protection)
Rules, 1986, and amended from time to time.

(viii) Rain water harvesting for roof run-off and surface
run-off, as plan submitted should be implemented.
Rain water harvesting structures shall conform to
CGWA guidelines. Before recharging the surface

60
PART E

run off-pre-treatment must be done to remove
suspended matter, oil and grease.

IV.     NOISE MONITORING AND PREVENTION:
(i)     Notification GSR 568(E) dated 18.06.2018 of
        MoEF & CC regarding Ambient Air Quality

Standards with respect to Noise in Airport Noise
Zone shall be complied with.

(ii) Noise level survey shall be carried as per the
prescribed guidelines and report in this regard
shall be submitted to Regional Officer of the
Ministry as a part of six-monthly compliance
report.

(iii) Noise from vehicles, power machinery and
equipment on-site should not exceed the
prescribed limit. Equipment should be regularly
serviced. Attention should also be given to muffler
maintenance and enclosure of noisy equipments.

(iv) Acoustic enclosures for DG sets, noise barriers for
ground-run bays, ear plugs for operating
personnel shall be implemented as mitigation
measures for noise impact due to ground sources.

(v) During airport operation period, noise should be
controlled to ensure that it does not exceed the
prescribed standards. During night time the noise
levels measured at the boundary of the building
shall be restricted to the permissible levels to
comply with the prevalent regulations.

(vi) Where construction activity is likely to cause noise
nuisance to nearby residents, restrict it to only
during day time i.e. between 7 am to 6 pm.

V. ENERGY CONSERVATION/CLIMATE CHANGE
MEASURES:

(i) Energy conservation measures like installation of
LED should be integral part of the project design
and should be in place before project
commissioning.

(ii) Initiatives such as Green Infrastructure
Development program, adoption of less emission
intensive technologies, renewable energy
program, electrical vehicles and Airport Carbon
Accreditation need to be adopted to reduce its
impact on climate change and Green House Gas
(GHG) emissions as per environmental best
practices governing Greenfield airports.

VI.     WASTE MANAGEMENT:
(i)     Soil stockpile shall be managed in such a manner

that dust emission and sediment runoff are

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PART E

minimized. Ensure that soil stockpiles are
designed with no slope greater than 2:1
(horizontal/vertical).

(ii) The project activity shall conform to the Fly Ash
notification issued under the EP Act of 1986.

(iii) The solid wastes shall be segregated as per the
norms of the Solid Waste Management Rules,
2016. Recycling of wastes such as paper, glass
(produced from terminals and aircraft caterers),
metal (at aircraft maintenance site), plastics (from
aircrafts, terminals and offices), wood, waste oil
and solvents (from maintenance and engineering
operations), kitchen wastes and vegetable oils
(from caterers) shall be carried out.

(iv) Solid inert waste found on construction sites
consists of building rubble, demolition material,
concrete; bricks, timber, plastic, glass, metals,
bitumen etc shall be reused/recycled or managed
so as to strictly conform to the Solid Waste
Management Rules, 2016, and Construction and
Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.

(v) The project proponents shall implement a
management plan duly approved by the State
Pollution Control Board and obtain its permissions
for the safe handling and disposal of:

a Trash collected in flight and disposed at the
airport including segregation, collection and
disposed.

         b      Toilet wastes and sewage collected from
         aircrafts and disposed at the Airport.
         c       Wastes arising out of maintenance and
         workshops.
         d     Wastes arising out of eateries and shops
         situated inside the airport complex.
         e Hazardous and other wastes.

VII.     GREEN BELT:
 (i)      Green belt shall be developed in area as

provided in project details, with native tree
species in accordance with Forest Department.
The green belt shall inter alia cover the entire
periphery of the Airport.

(ii) The plantation species in and around Airport site
should be carefully chosen to avoid bird nesting
and to improve pollution control and noise control
measures. Water intensive and/or invasive
species should not be used for landscaping.

(iii) Plantation activity should be taken up under the
expert guidance for forest department of Goa,
care should be taken that soil erosion measures

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PART E

should be taken up on priority so that the right
mineralized soil of forest is not washed away.
The plantation activity should also have an
approach of soil conservation where planting is
done along the contours avoiding gully formation.
As far as possible monoculture plantation should
be avoided.

(iv) The proposed 10 times compensatory plantation
need to be monitored by the Government of Goa
so that the target of planting 5.5 lakh saplings is
achieved in a a time bound manner, their survival
rate is monitored and mortality is replenished. As
major chunk of 2.5 lakh of saplings is proposed to
be done by the village level Bio Diversity
Committees, it is necessary to ensure that people
are largely given native species and/or fruit
bearing saplings so that they will be able to
derive economic benefits from such fruit crops
and also such trees will provide better biological
environment to birds.

(v) Top soil shall be separately stored and used in
the development of green belt.

VIII.    PUBLIC HEARING AND HUMAN HEALTH
         ISSUES:
 (i)      Solution/management plan regarding redressal of

all the concerns raised in the public hearing must
be clearly spelt out in the EMP and shall be
implemented in letter and spirit. Compliance for
each mitigation plan shall be submitted to
Regional Office, MoEF&CC along with half yearly
compliance report.

(ii) Provision of Electro-mechanical doors for toilets
meant for disabled passengers shall be ensured.
Children nursing/feeding room shall be located
conveniently near arrival and departure gates.

(iii) Emergency preparedness plan based on the
Hazard identification and Risk Assessment
(HIRA) and Disaster Management Plan shall be
implemented.

(iv) Provision shall be made for the housing of
construction labour within the site with all
necessary infrastructure and facilities such as
fuel for cooking, mobile toilets, mobile STP, safe
drinking water, medical health care, creche etc.
The housing may be in the form of temporary
structures to be removed after the completion of
the project.

(v) Occupational health surveillance of the workers
shall be done on a regular basis.”

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PART E

47 We have also taken note of the assurance which has been tendered on

behalf of the concessionaire that it will adopt a Zero Carbon Programme both in

the construction and operational phases of the airport. We accept the undertaking

of the concessionaire and issue a direction for compliance.

48 The earlier judgment of this Court highlighted numerous deficiencies by the

project proponent leading to the grant of the EC. This Court highlighted numerous

concerns including the preservation of forests, the existence of ESAs with their

attendant features and the impact of the proposed project on natural water

channels. The Court also noted the abject failure of the project proponent to

provide complete information on the existence of reserved forests. In the

proceedings that followed the judgment of this Court, the project proponent

sought to remedy its failure by taking into account additional information on

significant aspects of the environment. In the process leading to the grant of the

EC as well as the lifting of its suspension by this Court, numerous mitigatory

conditions have been imposed on the project proponent. We deem it appropriate

to ensure the oversight of the project by a specialized body to ensure compliance

with the directions cumulatively issued by this Court. We direct the National

Environmental Engineering Research Institute19 to be appointed to oversee

compliance with the directions cumulatively issued by this Court. The project

proponent shall bear the costs, expenses and fees of NEERI.

19

NEERI

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PART E

49 The suspension on the EC shall accordingly stand lifted. The

Miscellaneous Application is accordingly disposed of.

..……………………………………………………J
[Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud]

..……………………………………………………J
[Hemant Gupta]

New Delhi;

January 16, 2020.

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