Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (August 5, 2019)

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: Monday 05 August 2019

SC scraps road construction 

No road activity shall be undertaken within the Rajaji Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand, the Supreme Court ordered on July 29, 2019.

The top court directed Uttarakhand to obtain statutory approvals, required under Section 38 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, before undertaking road development activities within the reserve.

Bajaj Hindustan Sugar to pay compensation

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on August 1 ordered closure of Bajaj Hindustan Sugar Ltd (distillery division) in Paliakalan village of Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri district, and also slapped an environmental compensation of Rs 58.2 lakh for non-compliance of its previous order.

Based on a report received from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the unit was found non-compliant and a show-cause notice was issued for its closure till pollution control measures were implemented.

The tribunal had also directed a committee of CPCB and state PCB to oversee further action and furnish an action taken report. The joint inspection was done on May 24 and report submitted before the NGT.

The report stated that the distillery unit was not yet fully compliant with the pollution control measures, particularly Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) and bio composting.  

The NGT also gave its approval to the CPCB observations and recommendations and directed that compliance be ensured and a further report filed by November 30.

Tiger corridors threatened 

A three-member bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel, SP Wangdi, K Ramakrishnan on August 1 heard the case obstruction of tiger corridors by new road projects in Maharashtra, based on a news article.  

It reported that the necessary steps and precautions to be taken in such road projects for the preservation of wildlife and environment were missing.

The tribunal had on March 26 asked the additional director general forest (Wildlife) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and director of Project Tiger "to have an action plan prepared and to oversee execution of such plan and furnish an action taken report."

A report submitted on July 29 by the deputy inspector general of forest informed the tribunal that a draft action plan has been prepared which needs to be agreed upon by the stakeholders for which time is required. NGT has agreed to the request and directed for necessary steps to be taken and file report by October 31.

Vishnugad project barrage

The NGT on August 1 asked the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) for details on the disposal of muck in Uttarakhand's Vishnugad project in Tapovan village of Chamoli district.

The construction of barrage by the NTPC for the in the year 2005 had created problems for the livelihood of the villagers.

Even though land was given for the project, no employment came their way and there was lack of amenities like street lights, facilities for animals and technical education. Dust pollution also affected their health.

The report submitted to the NGT by the NTPC, Tehri Development Corporation Limited and Uttarakhand state PCB mentions about muck disposal but does not give a clear picture.

The NGT has asked for more details on the muck disposal and the list of places where it was being disposed and the challenges. The court made it clear that this was necessary to ensure that there was no damage to the environment.

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