The Supreme Court Tuesday took note of the pollution caused from a Graphite India plant in Bengaluru and asked it to explain as to why the use of petroleum coke (petcoke) by the company not be stopped with immediate effect.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta had on September 6 allowed the application of Graphite India Ltd seeking permission to import petcoke, also called needle coke, to be used as feed stock for manufacture of graphite electrodes which are used in the steel industry.
When the issue of pollution from the plant was raised before the court, it said that the matter has to be dealt with urgently as it was affecting the health of people of the area.
"They have taken permission from the court to use it. If due to this, people are going to suffer then we will withdraw the permission," the bench observed.
It issued notice to Graphite India Ltd seeking their response by October 12 explaining "why the use of needle petcoke should not be stopped with immediate effect since it is causing immense pollution affecting health of people".
Advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the air pollution matter, told the bench that the issue has come to the notice of the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA).
"If the company is going to misuse it, we will withdraw the permission," the bench said.
The bench said that calcinated pet coke could be used by Aluminium industry as per revised Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) specifications on technological upgrade and its import would not exceed 0.5 million metric tonnes per annum.
It also said that raw pet coke, both domestic and imported, could be used as feed stock to produce calcinated petcoke and its import would not exceed 1.4 million metric tonnes per annum.
For use of pet coke by Steel industry, the Centre said they need three weeks time which was granted by the court.
The Centre had earlier told the apex court that petcoke was a "highly polluting" fuel and its use should be allowed only in certain industries as feedstock and not for manufacturing purpose.
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