Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
NGT directs industries not meeting pollution norms to be closed in Taloja, Mumbai
On April 9, a two-member bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), comprising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice K Ramakrishnan directed the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to forthwith suspend the Consent to Operate to the industries in the Taloja industrial area on the outskirts of Mumbai, which were not meeting pollution norms. The bench further said the industries would be permitted to operate only after remedial steps are taken. The tribunal was hearing an application filed by Arvind Pundalik Mhatre which stated that in spite of repeated directions, the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) was not functioning and industrial effluents were being discharged into the Kasardi river.
The Counsel for the Taloja CETP Co-operative Society Limited informed NGT that out of Rs 10 crore (Environmental Compensation), a sum of Rs 6.1 crore had been collected and deposited with the District Magistrate. The remaining amount may be collected and deposited with the District Magistrate by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation. The amount may be spent on restoration of damage to the environment by furnishing an action plan to the Monitoring Committee.
No manufacture of fireworks with barium substitute: SC
On April 11, the Supreme Court (SC) refused to grant permission to fireworks manufacturers to manufacture fireworks with a substitute of barium namely barium nitrate. This material is said to reduce pollution to the extent of about 25 to 30 per cent. The SC declined the request of the manufacturers saying the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) is looking into the matter for the best formulation that may be permissible for the manufacture of firecrackers.
PESO has agreed to grant approval for new formulation fireworks by April 30, 2019. Upon approval, PESO has been asked to submit it to the Union government. The fireworks manufacturers can start to manufacture firecrackers in accordance with the new formulation after due permission from the concerned authorities.
NGT informed about illegal sand mining activities at riverside plot at Khorjem, Curtorim
The Goa government has constituted a patrolling-cum-flying squad to monitor and crackdown on illegal sand mining activities in the state. Further, the South Goa district administration has conducted surprise checks of riverside plots at Khorjem, Curtorim, where illegal sand mining activities were suspected of being carried out and found that sand was illegally mined from the river bed and was being brought to the banks with the help of canoes and loaded into waiting trucks. These facts were brought to the notice of the NGT on April 10 which, in turn, directed the Chief Secretary to verify the facts and take necessary action.
Proposed construction on Sabik Kisam forest land to be looked into: NGT
The NGT on April 9 heard an application which alleged that there is a proposal to construct a gram panchayat building in Golabandha Village under Barkote Tehsil in Deogarh District of Odisha on Sabik Kisam Bad Jungle, covering an area of 1.080 acres without any prior approval from Central Government as required under Forest Conservation Act 1980.
NGT directs that no construction activity be undertaken in that area without getting necessary permission from the concerned authorities as provided under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. Meanwhile the Divisional Forest Officer and the District Collector have been asked to conduct a joint inspection of the area and find out whether this comes under the forest as defined by the Supreme Court in TN Godavarman Thirumulpad vs Union of India case.
NGT tells Amarkantak civic body to construct toilets 100 metres away from temples
On April 9, the bench of Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) dismissed the application filed by the Municipal Corporation of Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh for recalling the direction issued by the tribunal for construction of toilets 100 metres away from temples in the pilgrim town and also for shifting the existing ones up to that distance. NGT expressed its unhappiness at the filing of the interlocutory application by the municipal corporation and said it unnecessarily delayed the matter. It directed the Collector of Anuppur district, where the town is located to comply with the order in letter and spirit before the next date of hearing (May 16, 2019).
NGT unhappy at the delay in removing encroachments over Sahibabad Drain
On April 8, the NGT heard the application calling for compliance of orders passed in 2016 for removal of illegal constructions on the Sahibabad Drain in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, as well as encroachments on the green belt area in Vaishalli. In its order, NGT said that in spite of the fact that the case was initiated in the year 2014 and the final order was passed by it in the year 2016, the execution of the same by the authorities is yet to be completed.
NGT asks MoEF&CC to submit report on Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary
On April 9, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to submit a report which would decide whether the Hindustan Institute of Technology & Management, Agra and Anand Engineering College, Agra were within the Wildlife Sanctuary notified by the State of Uttar Pradesh as “Soor Sarovar Bird Sanctuary” vide Notification dated 27.03.1991 in District Agra, under Section 18 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. If they are within the sanctuary, restrictions under Section 27 would apply and the setting up of the said colleges itself might be questionable.
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