Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (June 1, 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: Monday 01 June 2020

LG Polymers failure

The failure of refrigeration system and a high volume of raw material stored, contributed to the gas leakage at LG Polymers Pvt Ltd chemical plant in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

This was stated in the affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in the matter of gas leak at LG Polymers.

The report was uploaded to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) website on May 29, 2020.

The ministry also stated that the unit had been issued Consent to Operate by Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) to manufacture 313 tonnes per day (TPD) of polystyrene and 102 TPD of expandable polystyrene which was valid up to December 31, 2021.

The unit was connected with Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Online Continuous Emission Monitoring System (OCEMS) for transmitting real-time emission and effluent data to CPCB servers.

On March 24, 2020, the unit had sent a mail to CPCB stating the stoppage of plant operations. CPCB reported that according to the OCEMS data available with it, no values were recorded between March 24, 2020 and May 5, 2020. Further, the OCEMS was reactivated on May 6, 2020.

Also, the unit had two raw material (styrene monomer) storage tanks of 2,500 kiloliters (kl) and 3,500 kl. Apart from the main storage tanks, three standby tanks of styrene monomer were also established in the unit.

All the tanks were provided with internal cooling system type of refrigeration to maintain the temperature below 20 degrees celsius. The styrene gas reportedly leaked from the 2,500 kl storage tanks.

The quantity of leaked gas was not known. The unit had high volume of raw material storage due to shutdown and there was also failure of the refrigeration system — these being some of the reasons for the accident, the report further stated.

LG Polymers deposits Rs 50 crore

LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd, in an affidavit, informed the NGT it had deposited the initial compensation amount of Rs 50 crore in favor of the district magistrate of Visakhapatnam and requested the court for more time to file a further additional and detailed affidavit ”raising its contentions and objections (if any).”

The affidavit was filed by LG Polymers in response to the NGT order of May 8 for the gas leak at the chemical plant in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.

Adani clearance questioned

The amended environmental clearance (EC) of Adani Power Ltd in Godda, Jharkhand was questioned before the NGT on May 28. The EC dated September 3, 2019 was granted to M / s Adani Power (Jharkhand) Ltd by the MoEF&CC, which permitted withdrawl of water from the Ganga for a proposed thermal power project. 

According to the earlier EC, water was to be drawn from the Chir river.

The complainant said the project proponent had changed the scope of a crucial aspect of the project relating to drawing of water from the Ganga to meet the water requirements of the thermal power plant though the same was never mentioned in environment impact assessment or placed before the public during public hearings.

Further, the impact on fauna of the Ganga at Sahebganj and its nearby areas where there was presence of Gangetic dolphins, otters and many other wildlife species, had not been considered in the Source Sustainability Study report. Moreover, the site selection for the project was in violation of the criteria prescribed by the MoEF&CC.

The NGT admitted the appeal and directed the appellant, R Sreedhar, to furnish requisites within one week. The respondents, including Adani Power, have to file a report answering the complaints within 30 days. The case has been listed again before the NGT on August 3, 2020.

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