Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) March 13, 2023 directed a joint committee to look into the matter of ecological destruction of Kufri village in Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh.
The committee has been ordered to visit the site, collect relevant information and submit a factual as well as action taken report within two months. It comprises the divisional forest officer of Shimla, regional officer (Chandigarh), Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board and district magistrate, Shimla.
Snowfall in Kufri has been on a decline the past two decades, said Shailendra Kumar Yadav, an advocate, in his petition letter. As a result, water resources are drying and Shimla town is devoid of any snow for most of the winter season, he added.
His application read:
There are about 700-800 horses in the small area of 8-10 square kilometres, in and around the tourist village of Kufri, which is at the edge of the reserve forest and catchment. Uncontrolled movement of horses has irreparably damaged flora and fauna of this ecosystem.
The local administration has made available a large piece of land as a “parking area” for horses in the prohibited part of the forest, he added. “After the day's plying, the owners of these horses let them into the adjoining forests, causing severe damage to deodar tree roots along with flora and fauna therein.”
A forest patch about one kilometre from Kufri on the Chail-Kufri road has been severely damaged by the horse owners by making an illegal road using a JCB machine, the complainant said. The forest authorities were in the know of the matter but they have not taken any action, he alleged.
A joint committee comprising the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the district magistrate of Chandrapur was directed by NGT to look into the matter of pollution by ACC Chanda Cement Company at Nakoda village in Maharashtra’s Chandrapur district.
The committee has been directed to visit the site, collect relevant information and take remedial action against any violation of environmental laws and norms within two months. The district magistrate of Chandrapur will be the nodal agency for coordination and compliance, the court noted.
The cement company was allegedly burning waste clothes, expired medicines, hair, animal carcasses and plastic, causing serious health hazards to local residents, animals and agricultural land, the petitioner Suresh Malhari Paikarao said.
The garbage is brought from cities like Nagpur, Mumbai, Pune, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Bengaluru to be used as fuel for burning, he added. This increases ambient air temperature and water pollution in the River Vardha, making the only drinking water source unfit for consumption.
A large number of trucks are parked within 40-50 meters from the residential area in the vicinity of the cement company and this is also causing noise and air pollution, the application read.
Acting on a complaint of pollution filed against Madhusudan Dyeing and Printing Mills in Surat, Gujarat, NGT directed a joint committee to visit the site and collect relevant information.
If violation of any environmental laws and norms are found, then appropriate remedial action has to be taken in accordance with law within two months, the NGT said March 13, 2023.
The complaint was that Madhusudan Dyeing and Printing Mills was discharging untreated waste into the sewage canal, causing damage to the environment and also health hazards to local residents.
NGT sought a joint committee report on allegations of a bio-medical waste plant, SMS Envoclean Pvt Ltd, running in the middle of the city of Mumbai and adjacent to the slum of Mankhurd-Govandi.
The committee will comprise the Central Pollution Control Board, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the concerned district magistrate. The committee will file its action-taken report within two months, after visiting the site and collecting relevant information.
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