Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (January 10, 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: Tuesday 10 January 2023
Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts & National Green Tribunal

Supreme Court order on HPCL refinery in Visakhapatnam

The Supreme Court (SC) directed January 5, 2023 Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) to comply with the order passed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) October 20, 2022 to deposit environmental compensation of Rs 8.35 crore within eight weeks.

However, the apex court stayed a part of the NGT order, wherein HPCL was directed to deposit a further sum of Rs 10 crore. This amount was imposed by the NGT on HPCL for their “wilful negligence being a public sector undertaking” and the amount was to be spent on restoration of environment and public health in the district of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.  

The matter related to HPCL refinery in Visakhapatnam established in 1957 causing smoke, odour and water pollution. On May 25, 2021 there was a fire accident at the crude distillation unit III. A report filed by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB), which was submitted along with the detailed report from the enquiry committee, said the cause of the outbreak was found to be the hole that developed on “6 SR pipeline carrying bitumen due to corrosion or erosion”. The report further observed lapses of HPCL during inspection.

Mining on the river bed of Yamuna, Dehradun

NGT directed January 6, 2023 the project proponent engaged in river bed mining at villages Dakpathar, Nawabgarh, Mandi Gangbhewa and Bhimawala in district Dehradun, Uttarakhand to file its reply. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, geology and mining department of the state was also asked to file a reply. 

The mining site was spread over an area of 123 hectares and located on the river bed of Yamuna. According to the applicant, the environmental clearance has been granted by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam without following due norms. 

The revenue department claimed to have recovered the amount of Rs 1.06 crore. The court noted that the amount does not reflect the cost of the entire mineral illegally mined by the project proponent.

There is no record of any action taken by the Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board with regard to assessment of environment compensation, lodging of FIR for committing crime by the proponent and other steps for illegal mining and damage caused to the environment.

Sushant Golf City Project in Lucknow

NGT January 6 directed Ansal High Tech Township Ltd to file its reply on the matter of violation of environmental norms in the construction of Sushant Golf City Project in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.

Sushant Golf City Project has not obtained any environmental clearance or NOC from the authorities,  according to the application filed before NGT January 3, 2023 by Puja Kumar. The project is also coming up without any sewage treatment plant or drinking water supply. Adequate plantation and green belt area have not been provided by the project proponent in the development plan of the project.

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