Court Digest: Major environment hearings of the week (May 2-8, 2020)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal through the week     

By DTE Staff
Published: Sunday 10 May 2020
Gavel. Source: Getty images

Environmental impact of gas leak

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on May 7, 2020 directed immediate evacuation of people living nearby LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd situated at RR Venkatapuram, Visakhapatnam district. In addition to providing adequate medical facilities to residents, food and nutrition should be of paramount consideration, the court said.

The state government was directed to appoint a committee to monitor the situation and submit a report within a week. The Disaster Management Authority action would be supervised by the state’s chief secretary. A team of experts was also directed to study the environmental impact of chemical leakage.

Rs 50-cr penalty

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on May 8, 2020 directed LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd to deposit an initial amount of Rs 50 crore with the district magistrate, Vishakhapatnam, for the ‘extent of damage to life, public health and environment’ caused due to leakage of styrene from a chemical factory owned by the South Korean company in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

At least 11 people died and a thousand fell sick in the accident. Notices were issued to Andhra Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, the district magistrate, Central Pollution Control Board and Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and LG Polymers India Pvt Limited.

The tribunal also sought a report from a five-member committee, which has to visit and inspect the site at the earliest and give its report before the next date on the following aspects:

  • The sequence of events
  • Causes of failure and persons and authorities responsible therefore
  • Extent of damage to life, human and non-human; public health; and environment
  • Steps to be taken for compensation of victims and restitution of the damaged property and environment and the cost involved
  • Remedial measures to prevent recurrence
  • Any other incidental or allied issues found relevant

Laterite stone mining in Khurda district

The NGT on May 5 granted one more opportunity “in the interest of justice” to the state of Jharkhand to file a report on the allegation of illegal laterite stone mining at 40 different sites in Khordha district of Odisha to an extent of 500 acres encompassing several villages, including Tapanga, Anda and Jhinki Jhari under Nijigarh Tapang panchayat.

The area encompasses cashew and gramya jungles and gochar land. The complainant added that neither environmental clearance nor consent to operate was obtained from the respective authorities, and that in the process of the mining activities, trees were being felled.

The state was supposed to file its reply by March 17.

Rejuvenation of the Yamuna

The NGT on May 6 granted more time to the Yamuna Monitoring Committee (YMC) to submit its report on plans to rejuvenate the Yamuna. The committee has been directed to furnish its report before June 30, 2020.

The report should be in tabular form, indicating the progress achieved, the issues which still remain pending and the roadmap for further course of action with timelines.

Illegal borewells in Delhi

The NGT on May 6, 2020 directed the Delhi Jal Board to take remedial action against illegal borewells operating in Mayapuri for commercial purposes.

A further action taken report has to be filed before July 31, which would also consist of information on the assessment and compensation recovered from persons concerned.

The NGT order came in the wake of a report furnished by the DJB mentioning the particulars of 141 unauthorised borewells. “Out of 141 illegal borewells identified, only four have been sealed and 137 are functioning,” the report said.

Chenab pollution

The NGT on May 5 directed the committee looking into the illegal operation of 26 stone crushers and hot mix plants in Ramban district in Jammu & Kashmir to submit a comprehensive report on the matter and take remedial action to stem the illegalities found and recover compensation for the violations.

It was also alleged that the stone crushers were dumping residual matter directly into the Chenab river.

The order came in the wake of the report filed by the state pollution control board on February 5, indicating illegalities in the operation of some of the stone crushers and hot mix plants.

However, the report was not complete and there was a proposal to re-inspect the area in May-June after the weather conditions improved.


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