Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 21, 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: Thursday 21 September 2023

Construction on Subarnarekha riverbed 

On September 20, 2023, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the formation of a joint committee to look into the allegations of indiscriminate construction of high-rise buildings on the riverbed of Subarnarekha.

Some private parties have started construction activities in the foothills of Dalma Range, which is otherwise a protected area.

The joint committee will comprise representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Central Pollution Control Board, Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board, Water Resource Department, Jharkhand and concerned district magistrate, among others.

The tribunal entrusted the committee to visit the site, ascertain the factual situation with respect to the violation of the environmental norms and submit a report before the Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata,

Further, the NGT asked the committee to suggest remedial measures, including an environmental restoration plan, within eight weeks.

Stormwater drain in Delhi

On September 20, the NGT directed the district magistrate of South Delhi and the executive engineer of the Delhi Jal Board to appear before the tribunal for the next hearing on a matter related to stormwater management.

A sewer line joining a stormwater drain passing through Malviya Nagar to Greater Kailash has been discharging sewage. The district magistrate has already filed a report on the matter.

However, the report does not very clearly disclose the findings of a joint committee with respect to the violation of the environmental norms, the tribunal pointed out. Furthermore, it does not reflect any remedial suggestion, it added.

Report on chemical industry

The chemical division of Grasim Industries, located in Nagda, Ujjain district, Madhya Pradesh, was found to be following environmental norms, said a joint committee report submitted to the NGT on September 21.

The report was in response to the NGT order dated July 27, 2023. The tribunal passed the order while responding to an application that alleged the unit was discharging untreated water on land and in river Chambal.

The unit has been using various acidic elements like sulphur, mercury, and chlorine, leading to pollution and affecting the health of residents of Nagda, the complainant said.

However, the joint committee said Grasim Industries has been maintaining zero liquid discharge status by installing a multiple effect evaporator and agitated thin film dryer since 2018 and no wastewater was found discharged during the visit.

To control the emission from the stacks, the unit has provided scrubbers. Manual monitoring values as well as continuous emission monitoring system data, have been found within the limits given in the consent.

The committee recommended that the unit should take measures to control odour by following the recommendations in the study conducted by JM Enviro, Gurugram. It also recommended the district administration to ensure tap water supply in the affected villages of Pardi, Takrawda, and Parmarkhedi under the Har Ghar Jal Mission.

The committee advised the unit to monitor the groundwater as well as soil quality in areas surrounding the site at least once a year and submit a report to the state pollution control board.

It recommended the Municipal Council, Nagda, to expedite the approval and construction of a sewage treatment plant without further delay. It also asked the authorities to make an action plan to treat wastewater generated from commercial activities and vehicle washing in industrial areas.

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