Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (October 20, 2023)

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 23 October 2023

Clearing encroachment and C&D waste from salt pans, Mumbai

About 20 dumpers of construction and demolition waste (C&D) were removed from salt pans in CS No 145 of the Salt Pan Division in Mumbai, Maharashtra through June 21, 2023, the Deputy Salt Commissioner, Mumbai told the National Green Tribunal (NGT) in a report.

An application in the tribunal had prayed for remedial action against damage to the environment in Mumbai city near the coastal road at Wadala to Mahul, close to Chembur to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus freeway.

The application by Madhura Rajesh Tawade said C&D waste was being dumped on the salt pan, turning it into an island out of it and encroaching on it. The dumping and encroachment were affecting the mangroves, which are important for Mumbai city. 

The office of the Deputy Salt Commissioner had taken action pursuant to the NGT orders dated September 28, 2022 and March 15, 2023 and directed salt manufacturers Hormoz Salt Works to remove C&D waste dumped in salt pan land and remove unauthorised structures, the report said.

A demolition drive was conducted and about 60 illegal structures were demolished, the report added. In addition, a compound wall has been constructed along the encroachment prone boundary of CS No 144 so as to prevent further encroachments. 

The Deputy Superintendent of Salt, Wadala, filed a police complaint on March 27, 2023 against salt manufacturers for failing to remove C&D waste.

As per the report of the Deputy Superintendent of Salt, Wadala, there has been no lifting, transporting and processing of C&D waste from the bunds of Hormoz Salt Works since June 22, 2023.

In the last week of June 2023, the salt manufacturers approached the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC), Vashi to obtain permission for the processing of a further quantity of C&D waste, but by the time they got permission for the processing of a further quantity of C&D waste, the monsoon started and lifting and transporting process were halted due to the rains.

EC to oil and gas project in Mechaki, Assam

The NGT October 20, 2023 dismissed the appeal filed against the environmental clearance (EC) granted by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) to Oil India Ltd (OIL) for a proposed onshore oil and gas development drilling and production in Mechaki, Assam.

OIL’s petroleum mining lease in Tinsukia district, Assam would cover Mechaki, Mechaki Extension, Baghjan and Tinsukia Extension. 

The proposed project is stated to be in an ecologically sensitive and fragile area. The Mechaki block is located in close proximity to the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, the Maguri-Motapung wetland complex and is a part of the Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve. 

Increasing crude oil production is essential for India and incidentally, larger parts of the oil-bearing area fall within the ecologically fragile zone of the country, the NGT said. Therefore, utmost care for environmental conservation is also necessary.

Energy security is one among the 15 United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals globally agreed to be achieved by 2030. India is chasing the target very fast and therefore, modern energy is also necessary for the sustainable development of the country, said Justice B Amit Sthalekar of the Eastern Bench of the NGT.

The court ordered the project proponent to strictly follow all environmental safeguards prescribed in the environmental clearance, as well as the recommendations and mitigation measures described in the Biodiversity Impact Assessment Study. 

The MoEF&CC and the Monitoring Committee established to monitor the Master Zonal Plan for Eco-sensitive Zone around the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park should regularly monitor and take necessary action to avoid any adverse environmental impact on the project site’s landscape, the order added.

Stone crusher units polluting Ganga river, Sahibganj

A three-member committee was directed by the NGT to probe the allegations of encroachment by stone crusher units on the river bed of the Ganga flowing through Sahibganj in Jharkhand.

The committee, after visiting the site, will submit its report within three weeks. In case violations are found, the committee shall recommend penalties as well as environmental compensation and also suggest remedial measures, if any.

Arsad Nasar, the applicant, said there was illegal dumping of stone chips into the Ganga river by the miners. It was also stated that boats using adulterated oil carrying the stone chips and boulders are polluting the river, thereby harming the aquatic life in the river.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.