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NGT reiterates Rs 1 cr penalty on SIDCUL for pollution in Sitarganj industrial area

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

NGT has reaffirmed its order imposing Rs 1 crore penalty on the State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand and a CETP in Udham Singh Nagar district for damaging the and health of the people.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel it is "beyond any doubt" that air and water pollution was taking place and the two -- SIDCUL and CEPT (Common Effluent Treatment Plant) -- cannot be absolved.

The bench said: "Recovery of compensation and prohibiting polluting activities, for the failure of CETP and SIDCUL, the compensation of Rs 1 crore as determined vide order dated November 13, 2018 stands reiterated.

"It is not even the case of CETP or SIDCUL that cost of restoration or the extent of loss will be less than such amount which is being determined on ad hoc basis being moderate estimate."

The tribunal directed them to pay the amount within a month to the Central Pollution Control Board to be spent for restoration of beyond which it will carry interest at the rate of 12 per cent.

It also directed CPCB to pay Rs 1 lakh to the amicus curiae advocate Raj Panjwani, out of the said amount and said that CETP and SIDCUL will also be liable to pay a sum of Rs 5 lakh each towards cost which may be deposited with the CPCB within a month.

It asked CPCB and state pollution control board to furnish a further report in the matter within a month.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on November 13, 2018 had slapped a penalty of Rs 1 crore on the CETP and SIDCUL in the state's Udham Singh Nagar district.

The order was challenged in the Supreme Court which permitted the parties to move NGT and raise their grievances which could be considered by the tribunal afresh.

The tribunal has now reiterated its order saying that there was no merit in the objection by CETP and SIDCUL and as per the inspection report they was discharging effluents in the nearby land.

CETP cannot avoid absolute responsibility for causing pollution by polluting discharge from its outlet resulting in damage to and public health, it said.

The tribunal had earlier appointed senior advocate Raj Panjwani and advocate Meera Gopal to assist it on a complaint of the residents of Sitarganj industrial area, alleging discharge of untreated chemical effluent in drains by industries located in the vicinity.

Terming the situation as alarming, the bench had directed its registry to register the villagers' letter as a petition and asked the Uttarakhand state pollution control board to inspect the industrial units around the village.

The NGT had issued notices to the Uttarakhand government, district magistrate of Udham Singh Nagar, state pollution control board, managing director of SIDCUL, and sought their responses.

The state pollution board was directed to identify the industries which were discharging untreated effluent and causing air and ground water pollution. It had also been asked to inform the tribunal on whether the industries were complying with the conditions of environment clearance.

The complainants had said the industrial units were spewing black soot which deposited dust on the village houses, especially in the morning and evening hours, due to which it was difficult for the residents to sit outside their houses or do any work.

"During rainy season, the effluent spread over the agriculture fields and even the tube wells of the village are having coloured water which is not fit for human or animal consumption," the petition had said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, July 12 2019. 15:55 IST