Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (August 21, 2020)

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
Published: Friday 21 August 2020

Chennai ammonium nitrate

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) filed its report before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored in a custom-bonded warehouse of Sattva Container Freight Station (CFS) at Ponneri Road, Manali, Tiruvottriyur taluk, Chennai district.

The ammonium nitrate had been stored in the CFS since 2015. The warehouse was inspected on August 6, 2020, by TNPCB officials, along with officials from the police and the department of fire and rescue services, Chennai.

The warehouse is spread over an area of about 18 acres, surrounded by container freight stations in the east, west and northern directions and Ponneri High Road in the west.

The nearest habitations are Manali New Town, 700 metres to the north, with a population of about 7,000 and Sadayankuppam village, 1,500 metres in the east, with a population of about 5,000.

The ammonium nitrate was transported from Chennai port and had been stored in the premises since September 27, 2015. An official from the customs department, who was present during inspection, said the material had been imported by Sri Amman Chemicals Ltd, Karur. 

Although it was reported earlier that there were about 740 tonnes of the chemical in the CFS, the actual quantity was only 697 tonnes in 37 containers, the TNPCB report, said. This was transported to Salvo Explosives & Chemicals Ltd in Ankireddypalli village, Keesara road, Keesara mandal, Medchal Malkajgiri, Telangana. The unit is a manufacturer of detonators and has license for ammonium nitrate.

Prakasam barrage

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted a evaluation and validation report in compliance to the NGT order of February 14, 2020 (Original Application No. 935/2018).

The matter related to alleged illegal mining in the name of desilting in Andhra Pradesh, thus damaging the Krishna river and the environment. The state of Andhra Pradesh pleaded that desilting was being done by the Inland Waterways Authority of India, without adversely affecting the environment.

On February 14, the bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and SP Wangdi directed the constitution of an Expert Committee (Consisting of the Union environment ministry, the Indian School of Mines, the Indian Institute of Science and CPCB) to ‘independently evaluate and validate’ the two reports submitted by the government of Andhra Pradesh to the NGT on the matter.

The two reports were:

  1. Report submitted by the water resources department, including findings of bathymetric survey
  2.  ‘Ecological Impact Assessment Study on flora and fauna of the Krishna’ carried out by Acharya Nagarjuna University

The committee members concluded that the water resources department had carried out the bathymetric survey in conformity with the established and recommended practices.

According to the bathymetric survey carried out from December 2019 to January 2020, the present storage capacity of the Prakasam barrage was 2.982 thousand million cubic feet (TMC). There was a loss of 0.089 TMC in storage capacity, as compared to the design capacity of 3.071 TMC.

The report submitted by the water resources department to the NGT was satisfactory.

From the ecological assessment report, it could be inferred that the cautious use of dredgers and mechanised boats and judicious desilting activity did not have serious impacts on the flora and fauna in Prakasam barrage.

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