Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (May 5, 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: Tuesday 05 May 2020

Stone crushers and hot mix plants in Ramban

A joint committee report was filed in compliance of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order of December 20, 2019 on the illegal operation of stone crushers and hot mix plants in Jammu & Kashmir's Ramban district.

The illegal operation was allegedly affecting the ecology of the area adversely. It was further alleged that dumping of residual matter into the Chenab river was colouring the water, affecting aquatic life.

The report of the committee was received by the Tribunal on February 4, 2020 and made available to the public online on May 4, 2020.

The committee identified 21 stone crushers and six hot mix plants in the district, out of which only six units were inspected in January 2020 due to inclement weather.

The report noted major cutting activity taking place for the four-laning of the National Highway that passes through the district. Several dumping sites were also observed at various locations in the area.

The committee also requested the NGT to allow permission to re-inspect the area during May-June, once weather conditions improved and movement of traffic was brought to normal.

Stone crushers in Jhunjhunu

The NGT on May 4 directed the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board (RSPCB) in coordination with the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) of Jhunjhunu to ensure that illegal operation of stone crushers was stopped in Moda Pahad area and compensation recovered on the principle of ‘polluter pays’.

The Tribunal passed the order after going through the report filed by the RSPCB and the SDM on the matter.

The Tribunal did not accept the report of the SDM, Jhunjhunu on the citing criteria having being met, as the “distance mentioned in the report is nearly within the prohibited distance of 1.5 km” but in the annexures enclosed with the report, distance has been stated to be 200 metres in some cases.

Further, the court noted that no carrying capacity study was conducted for the area to “determine the optimal number of stone crushers which the area can sustain” the NGT chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said in the order.

The report mentioned that some compensation had been assessed but the status of realisation was not mentioned.

Agri unaffected  

No evidence was found of agriculture being affected by the functioning of M/s Saraswati Beads Industries, Dholpura-Agra road in Firozabad, Uttar Pradesh, according to a report filed by the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) in conformance to the NGT order on the matter. 

Further, the result of stack monitoring revealed that the concentration of particulate matter complied with prescribed standards according to stack emission standards under Schedule VI, EPA-1986.

The standards notified under the Schedule 1 of EPA-1986 for glass industries using coal as fuel was also not applicable because the unit was using natural gas as fuel. The UPPCB report was uploaded on the NGT site on May 4.

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