Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
On August 2, 2023, the Madras High Court stated that it would place accountability equally on the farmers for overstepping the land already acquired by the Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) and on NLC for not taking adequate supervision to stop farmers from cultivating in the land.
For the Paravanar Canal Diversion Project in Cuddalore district and its Mine II expansion plans, the NLC acquired land between 2006 and 2013, in accordance with the Tamil Nadu Acquisition of Land for Industrial Purposes Act, 1997.
Protests erupted here when bulldozers started destroying farmers’ standing crops (in already acquired land) last week to regain control of the land and lay the canal. In order to prevent NLC from seizing control of their agricultural lands before the harvest was complete, one of the farmers approached the court.
The Madras High Court directed NLC to pay a compensation of Rs 40,000 per acre to farmers whose standing crops were damaged during Paravanar Canal Diversion activities carried out by NLC.
The court further directed the impacted farmers to contact the authorities, who are supposed to pay the compensation on or before August 6, 2023.
The district collector, Cuddalore, also filed a counter affidavit stating that standing crops in the 264 hectares of acquired land will not be allowed to be disturbed before harvest.
However, after harvest, the farmers, who cultivate the acquired land, have to hand over the same to NLC, the court said. The High Court directed the “erstwhile landowners” not to carry on any further cultivation activities in the acquired lands after harvesting the existing crops on or before September 15, 2023.
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed a joint committee to look into the allegations regarding a highly polluted drain passing from Sonipat in Haryana to Delhi.
The tribunal was responding to a petition on August 2, 2023. The drain, which ran from Sonipat through the Haryana villages of Barota and Piau Maniyari to Delhi, was clogged with debris, silt and sludge. As a result, it leaked and overflew into another drain that merged with the Yamuna river, the petition alleged.
The drain in question has been affecting the water treatment plants in Delhi, it added. The petition sought NGT’s interference in dredging or cleaning the drain.
The tribunal directed the committee to submit a report after visiting the site. It also sought responses from the state’s chief secretary; chief engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control Department; state pollution control board; district magistrate, Sonipat and Delhi Jal Board.
The NGT directed a joint committee to the allegations of a refinery in Umedpur, Ludhiana district, causing air pollution. The tribunal was responding to a petition on August 3, 2023.
Global Refinery, which is engaged in refining used oils, has been employing some polluting material / fuel for burning their furnace, the applicant alleged.
The ashes of the burnt fuel were also found in nearby areas. The industry was also exploiting huge quantities of groundwater without obtaining consent from the concerned authority. A complaint was made to the Punjab Pollution Control Board, but no action has been taken, the petitioner said.
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