Court Digest: Major environment hearings of the week (September 30-October 4)

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: Saturday 05 October 2019
Photo: Getty Images

Stone crushing unit

A stone crushing unit in Ghutewadi village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is falling within the eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) demarcated for the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) was informed on October 1, 2019, in an application.

It alleged that the plant is run mostly at night and is located near to a school and agricultural lands. It is also causing severe air pollution, the application stated.

A report filed by joint committee, comprising of the regional officer of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, the district collector and the divisional forest officer of Ahmednagar, also affirmed the presence of crushing unit within the limits of ESZ of the sanctuary.

The tahasildar of Shrigonda municipal council in Ahmednagar issued a show cause notice to the unit asking why the stone crushing unit should not be closed down and the “land in question not restored to its original agricultural use as it falls within the limits of the ESZ.”

The tribunal was informed that after hearing from the unit, further action would be taken.

The joint committee has also been asked to submit a further action taken report indicating the result of the hearing granted by the tahasildar and also mention the authority which had given permission to establish the unit in the ESZ.

Crop burning

The NGT has been hearing cases on crop residue burning for the past six years and only effective environmental governance can address the problem, said Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel, SP Wangdi and K Ramakrishnan.

“At the level of states, the responsibility may be more onerous and still more onerous at the district level,” read an October 1 order of the NGT. The tribunal also ordered that a special cell be created in the office of the chief secretary to review the situation on a daily basis at least for a month.

Similar cells should also be set up at the district magistrates’ offices and other appropriate levels. The monitoring mechanism should be ready by October 7 and state websites should be used to encourage public participation and awareness.

The tribunal asked joint secretary of Union Ministry of Agriculture, secretaries of agriculture from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to be present in the next hearing on October 15 with a status report.

Waste facility in Juna Deesa village

The authorisation granted to a waste processing facility by the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) to operate at Survey No 727/-P/1 of Juna Deesa village in Banas Kantha district was challenged before the NGT.

It is alleged that the facility measuring around 10 acres does not fulfil the criteria mandated under Schedule-I of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Further, the authorisation given by the GPCB was defective as the mandatory environment clearance under the Environmental Impact Assessment notification and consent to establish under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, was not present, the NGT was informed.

The NGT on October 1 directed notice to be issued and gave November 21, 2019 as the next date of hearing.

Effluent treatment plant at Vapi

GPCB must monitor and maintain a strict vigil over the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) at Vapi, in Valsad district of Gujarat, ordered the NGT on October 1.

Vapi, an industrial town situated near the banks of river Damanganga has been in the news for the severe industrial pollution and is one of the critically polluted areas in India.

The inlet and outlet norms as prescribed under the rules of the GPCB should be followed for the CETP, the NGT said.

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