May 29, 2018 / 1:40 PM / in 24 days

Indian ministry says state steel firm expanded without approval: document

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India’s environment ministry has found that state-controlled Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) expanded a steel plant without its approval, according to a government letter seen by Reuters.

The company in January sought the permission from the ministry to expand the plant’s capacity to 6.3 million tonnes a year from 4 million tonnes, but went ahead with the project before receiving clearance, the ministry said in a letter to the steel ministry, which controls RINL.

“It is submitted that (RINL) has carried about 90 percent expansion without obtaining requisite prior environmental clearance,” Arun Kumar Mehta, a top bureaucrat in the environment ministry, wrote in the letter dated May 25.

Mehta added that RINL flouted environmental rules and hence the company should “initiate necessary exemplary disciplinary action” against officials responsible for the violation.

An RINL executive, who declined to be named citing government rules, said the company has been asked to appear before an environment ministry panel in connection with the issue.

An RINL spokesman had no immediate comment.

The company started out in 1992 with a capacity of 3 million tonnes a year in the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh. It plans to eventually raise the capacity to above 7.3 million tonnes.

Editing by Krishna N. Das and Edmund Blair

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