Court digest: Major environment hearings of the week (May 6-10)

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

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Saturday 11 May 2019
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images

NGT directs MoEFCC to file report on eco-sensitive zone along Western Ghat

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on May 7, 2019 heard an application filed before it on the finalisation of the notification on the eco-sensitive zone of the Western Ghat. The Tribunal noted that in the order of August 24, 2018 the matter was to be finalised within six months.

The NGT has directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to furnish a report about the status of compliance of the orders within one month.

NGT restricts number of vehicles in Rohtang Pass

Reviewing the steps taken for maintaining the ecological balance of the Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh, the NGT on May 6, 2019 said that steps should be taken expeditiously to restrict the number of vehicles. Keeping in view of the ensuing tourist season, the Tribunal said this was needed as the carrying capacity of the area was limited. 

The status report filed by Himachal Pradesh mentioned that in principle, approval has been granted by the MoEFCC’s Regional Office in Dehradun for diversion of the forest land for the project of ropeway. Progress has also been indicated about setting up and upgradation of a sewage treatment plan (STP) at Manali and eco-friendly market at Marhi.

Effluent treatment plant at 12 public health facilities planned for Tripura: NGT

A status report filed by Tripura mentioning the steps taken for solid, plastic and bio-medical waste management came up for discussion before the  NGT on May 7, 2019. The report mentioned that Solid Waste Management Policy has been prepared by the Urban Development Department in October 2018 and that Rs 3.50 crores have been allocated for door-to-door solid waste collection and source segregation. Further, process has been initiated for setting up 12 effluent treatment plant (ETP) for pre-treatment of bio-medical waste.

The NGT said that a huge gap exists in the steps taken and the steps required to be taken in terms of the Solid Waste Management Rules 2016 and for ensuring sustainable development.

Finalise ‘deemed forest’ standard: SC to Uttarakhand

Finalising the criteria and standard to determine what constitutes "deemed forest" for the purpose of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 for Uttarakhand came up for hearing before the Supreme Court (SC) on May 7, 2019.

In one of the previous hearings, the SC was informed that Uttarakhand had sent a draft criterion to MoEFCC and that it is lying with the Ministry since 2014. Now, it has come to the notice of the SC that "nothing concrete has been sent to the Ministry".

The SC directed the state to send the necessary proposal within a period of six weeks to the MoEFCC, which, in turn, would have to investigate the said proposal and do the needful within a period of eight weeks thereafter.

NGT hears case of coal dust covering Chhenga Pahad

Raw coal transported by use of heavy trucks which are uncovered for the coal washery plant of ACB (India) Limited in Kanika village, Hemgir tehsil, in Odisha’s Sundargarh district has resulted in black coal dust settling along the route. The Chhenga Pahad Reserve Forest under Hemgir Forest Range, Sundergarh Forest Division has also been covered with coal dust affecting the health of the forest.

When these allegations came up for hearing before the NGT on May 6, 2019 and keeping in view the facts, the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and Sundergarh’s District Magistrate and the Divisional Forest Officer were directed to jointly inspect the area in question and verify on the correctness of the allegations and if found correct, take appropriate action in accordance with law to remedy the situation.

NGT asks to close Anurag City Centre in Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh

The bench of Justice Raghuvendra S. Rathore of the NGT on May 9, 2019 directed the District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Chhatarpur to close down the Anurag City Centre mall in Shanti Nagar, Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh immediately for not having consent to operate.

A closure notice was issued by the SPCB in October 2016. NGT says that since 2016, the SPCB has failed to close the mall even though the consent to operate was not obtained.

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