Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
Illegal discharge into Thirana drain
The cost of damage to public health and environment due to illegal discharge into the Thirana drain from the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), Panipat refinery, was calculated by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) at Rs 92.40 crore.
The same was stated in the final report of the Joint Committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and NEERI.
The April 23, 2020 report was uploaded to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) website on July 22.
The report informed the tribunal that HSPCB had granted revised Consent to Operate (CTO) for the discharge of 255 cubic metre / hour of treated effluent from purified terephthalic acid (PTA) plant into Thirana drain.
CTO was granted with the condition that the industry would obtain permission for the discharge.
IOCL had started discharge of effluent into the Thirana drain with effect from August 18, 2019. However, the refinery had not obtained permission from the irrigation department for discharge of effluent into the drain.
Further, during inspection of the drain on January 14, the joint committee observed that effluent was being discharged by IOCL Panipat Naphtha Cracker unit as well.
The regional officer, HSPCB Panipat, had said that CTO was granted to the naphtha unit only for recycle and reuse of the treated effluent. No permission was granted for the discharge into the Thirana drain to the unit.
Water samples from the storm water pond of the naphtha unit and the Thirana drain were collected for analysis. The results of the analysis of both the samples showed high levels of biochemical oxygen demand, chemical oxygen demand and sodium adsorption ratio.
This showed that storm water was being contaminated with industrial effluent.
Construction at Park estate forest, Hathipaon
The principal chief conservator of forests (head of forestry force), Uttarakhand, in its report to the NGT stated that no new constructions were being done in Park Estate forest land, Hathipaon, Mussoorie, Dehradun district. The report was in response to the court order seeking to look into the allegations of construction in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.
The report stated that at present the old ruined CC Road, which was in existence from 1943 (according to Municipal Corporation, Mussoorie records) had been renovated. No new construction of road or widening of road or any felling of trees had taken place. The renovation work of an old building, George Everest Heritage Building, was also being done.
The municipal corporation had issued a certificate stating that the renovation of old building and old existing motor road, in existence prior to 1980, was done. Similarly, a certificate was issued by Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, stating that the old road had been renovated. But no felling of trees or widening of road had taken place for this purpose.
The permission for reconstruction and renovation of works was granted by the state government under the rules stipulated by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Radha Kund pollution
The NGT on July 21 accepted the request of Mathura Vrindavan Development Authority (MVDA) to defer the matter of pollution of Radha Kund and Shyam Kund in village Arita, Mathura.
The MVDA said the same issue was dealt by the NGT in another case and was listed for hearing on August 11.
The court asked the oversight committee constituted by the NGT, under the chairmanship of Justice SVS Rathore to look into the issue and give its independent report.
The North Delhi Municipal Corporation informed the NGT in its report that encroachment of government land at village Haiderpur was removed. The area was then demarcated.
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