Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (November 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: Thursday 05 November 2020

Gold assaying and hallmarking centres

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) it had formulated the ‘Guidelines for Gold Assaying and Hallmarking Centres’ in consultation with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and CPCB, Delhi. The Indian Association of Hallmarking Centres was also consulted.

The guidelines were then uploaded onto the CPCB website and circulated among all state pollution control boards (SPCB) / pollution control committees (PCC) for their implementation.

The CPCB report of November 4, 2020 also informed the NGT that a compliance status report for the implementation of the guidelines was received from 22 SPCBs / PCCs.

The guidelines had been uploaded by the SPCBs / PCCs on their websites. The Mizoram SPCB said it had uploaded the guidelines on its website, even though there are no gold assaying and hallmarking centres in the state.

The Chandigarh PCC has not uploaded the guidelines on its website. However, all gold assaying and hallmarking centres in the Union territory have been directed to apply for consents. The Puducherry SPCB has issued directions to two centres operating without consent.

The NGT, November 18, 2019 had directed the CPCB to update the existing guidelines on gold assaying and hallmarking centres, so that environmental norms were met.

The court order was in response to an application filed before the NGT. The application said there was a need for a regulatory regime to check acidic activities in the testing of gold.

Proceedings against stone crushers

The Supreme Court (SC) set aside an interim order passed by the NGT. The order had called for prosecution and compensation proceedings to be initiated against stone crushers like the Shree Ganesh Stone Crusher company in Haryana for damaging the environment.

The matter was handed back to the NGT, with the direction to dispose of the case preferably within four weeks. The SC said the stone crushers should be “heard by the NGT”. The apex court would be open to all parties to argue all points before the NGT, it added.

Velliangiri Hills Shivaratri waste

The Isha Foundation filed a rejoinder in response to the Tamil Nadu State Pollution Control Board (TNSPCB) report on the foundation’s disposal of soild waste during and after Maha Shivratri around the Velliangiri hills near Coimbatore. The report also talked about noise levels during the festival.

The foundation said the festival was not a hindrance to people and animals in the locality. The celebration was famous in the area even prior to the formation of the foundation due to the presence of the Velliangiri Andavar temple. Lakhs of people climb the Velliangiri hills during Maha Shivratri.

The foundation had been conducting the festival “with utmost care without causing any damage to the environment”, according to the rejoinder. The land on which the festival was conducted was not forest land but pattas. The foundation had also placed sufficient number of volunteers and labourers during the festival period to oversee and collect waste.

The waste collected in bins was segregated into biodegradable, non-biodegradable and domestic hazardous waste. The biodegradable waste was converted into manure by the process of mulching. The non-biodegradable waste and domestic hazardous waste was being disposed of through authorised dealers in an environmentally safe manner.

The report by the TNPCB also mentioned that the foundation distributed free food for the volunteers and devotees in areca leaf plates. The solid waste generated was disposed by adopting scientific methods according to the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Loudspeakers were kept only at the programme venue, a few kilometers away from the forest boundary. The light and sound systems were set up for the facilitation of the visitors to the festival.

The report was uploaded onto the NGT site November 5.

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