Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (August 6, 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: Thursday 06 August 2020

Gorbi mine

Acidic water accumulated in mine pits of Gorbi Project in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli district should be taken care of, said the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in an August 5, 2020 order.

The order was in response to the application filed before the court by Subhash Kushwaha, president, Machhali Palan Sahkari Samiti, stating that unscientific disposal of fly ash in Gorbi coal mine was affecting fishing activity.

The report filed by the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) informed the tribunal that Gorbi Project was an abandoned coal mine of Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL), Singrauli.

The mine was declared inoperative in July 1997. It is currently filled with acidic water — due to natural and geogenic reasons — and has a pH ranging between 2.1 and 2.9. The acidic water accumulated in the mine pit was tested by MPPCB in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The water was highly acidic and not fit for any fish propagation. The mine water quality was not fit to be used for fish propagation, according to the designated water quality criteria devised by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

It was also submitted that the mine was abandoned several years ago, but no aquatic life in it had been noticed and no locals were seen fishing. 

Stone crusher in Katni

The Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) informed the NGT that the operation of a crusher and gitti (small stone) plant by GN Minerals in Gram Panchayat Bhajpura, Katni district, were environmentally compliant.

In its report, the MPPCB said the unit was found in operation at the inspection time and that it had all the necessary permissions of “Gram Panchayat, DIC registration, Diversion of land and valid Air consent / renewal of MPPCB.”

To control dust pollution, the unit was covered with steel sheets and a boundary wall of iron sheet was constructed around the plant. At least 32 water spray nozzles were installed to spray water to control fugitive emission.

The unit was grinding lime stone and dolomite. Dust was observed in some uncovered parts of machinery shed.

The Ambient Air Quality monitoring report of January 16, 2020, said the value exceeded the permissible limit in eastern direction; they were within limit in other directions.

Regional office MPPCB in Katni had issued a letter to the unit in October 2019 for repairing uncovered and damaged parts of sheets and other compliances. The unit authority had agreed to make the necessary arrangements regarding control of air pollution.

The NGT directed that safeguards against the pollution should be adopted and disposed of the case.  

National Woolen penalised

The NGT on August 5 directed the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) to recover compensation from National Woollen and Finisher for illegal extraction of groundwater.

The unit, operating in Sector 29, Panipat, was found to be extracting ground water without Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) permission.

The NGT directed the HSPCB to stop such extraction by coercive means, besides assessing and recovering compensation for illegal withdrawal “for the period for which such withdrawal took place up to five years from the date of filing of application before the tribunal.”

The NGT directed the HSPCB to take appropriate action to assess and recover compensation on laid down norms, following due process of law. Illegal extraction of ground water should be stopped forthwith, the order said.

Sand mining in Hamirpur

The NGT, in its last opportunity, asked the divisional forest officer, Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh, to furnish a report on illegal sand mining in forest land of village Hamirpur.

No report was received in the last nine months and the case was repeatedly adjourned, the court said. The case was listed for November. 

Girital lake

A report filed by the district magistrate, Kashipur, regarding illegal constructions in Girital Lake in Uttarakhand’s Kashipur stated that all such constructions had been removed.

The NGT then disposed of the case.

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