Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (November 18, 2019)

Down To Earth brings you the top environmental cases heard in the Supreme Court, the high courts and the National Green Tribunal through the week

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 18 November 2019
Photo: Getty Images

Kanpur tanneries, chromium dump

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on November 15, 2019 held Uttar Pradesh guilty of failing to shift chromium dumps at Rania and Rakhi Mandi, Kanpur Nagar. They have been reportedly damaging the environment and public health since 1976. 

It ordered the state government to pay the compensation assessed by the state pollution control board (PCB) until the erring industries pay up. The hazardous chromium is to be disposed as the bench ordered on August 22.

The NGT directed the state to pay an environmental compensation of Rs 10 crore for damage to the environment due to it “permitting discharge of untreated sewage containing toxic chromium into river Ganga” (its order dated Aug 8).

The UPPCB has to pay Rs 1 crore for ignoring illegal discharge of sewage and other effluent containing toxic chromium directly into the Ganga and for acting after a long time.

Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam was asked to pay Rs 1 crore for releasing large quantity of untreated sewage, containing the toxic chromium into the river.

The NGT also asked the state to provide potable water to inhabitants of the area. It also sought a health survey by an expert committee within three months. 

The CPCB has been ordered to issue directions to ensure that “no authority allows discharge of polluted sewage or polluted effluents directly into a water channel or stream in violation of law even in monsoon and also the standards for faecal coliform are duly maintained.”


Polluted industrial clusters needs relook

The NGT on November 14 sought “meaningful action” by state PCBs / pollution control committees (PCC) and action taken reports showing the number of identified polluters in polluted industrial areas, the extent of closure of polluting activities, environmental compensation and restoration cost. 

Failure will lead to coercive action against chairmen and member-secretaries.

“Such action may include replacement of persons heading such PCBs/PCCs or direction for stopping their salaries till meaningful action for compliance of order of this Tribunal. The Tribunal may also consider deterrent compensation to be recovered from state PCBs/PCCs,” the order read.

The Central Pollution Control Board has been asked to prepare a consolidated report before February 15, 2020.

It should look into a mechanism for expansion and new activities by red and orange category of industries in critically / severely polluted areas, the tribunal said.


Non-forest activities in Aravalli, Gurugram

The NGT on November 14 directed the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Haryana to submit a factual and action-taken report within a month on non-forest activities on 260 acres of forest land comprising Aravalli plantation and Gair Mumkin Pahad in Mandawar village in Gurugram district.

No trees, meanwhile, can be cut without following due process.

According to the complainant, the area is a wildlife corridor and felling of trees is illegal.

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