Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 17, 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: Friday 17 July 2020

Cleaner fuels

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on July 16, 2020, took up the matter of regulation and control of use of petcoke and furnace oil in India.

The NGT, in its previous order, had said that in view of the established adverse impact of petcoke and furnace oil use by industries, prohibition of its use may need consideration on the basis of the ‘precautionary’ as well as ‘sustainable development’ principles, that are statutorily recognised under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.

Industries should switch over to alternatives and cleaner fuels. The court had said that air quality in many locations was not of prescribed quality and as many as 102 cities had been identified as “non-attainment cities”. Thus, it was important that any measure that was helpful in controlling air pollution should be preferred to the extent viable.

In response, a compliance report was filed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on July 14 that contained the summary of action taken reports from 27 states / Union territories.

The tribunal found some of the reports of the states / UTs as being contrary to its orders as well as those of the Supreme Court and said those reports that were non-compliant, would be rejected.

The CPCB has been directed to file an action taken report on the matter within four months.

Speciality Industries Polymers

The CPCB recommended imposing a fine of Rs 19,90,000 on Speciality Industries Polymers & Coating Pvt Ltd SIDCUL, Sitarjanj, Udham Singh Nagar district, Uttarakhand, for non-compliance with respect to industrial pollution from May 18-December 4, 2018 .

Further, a fine of Rs 5,33,760 would be charged for extracting 26,688 cubic metres of groundwater without a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA). In addition, Rs. 20 per cubic metre would be charged from the unit till it obtained NOC from CGWA.

The unit was also asked to carry out and submit third party feasibility report of zero liquid discharge (ZLD) installed.

This was cited in the report filed by the CPCB, Regional Directorate, Lucknow and uploaded to the NGT website on July 16.

The unit was engaged in production of polymer emulsion and acrylic water-based emulsions. It was visited on January 28 in reference to the NGT order of December 3, 2019, by a joint team of officials from Regional Directorate, CPCB, Lucknow and Regional Office Uttarakhand Environment Protection & Pollution Control Board, Kashipur.

The unit had not yet obtained an NOC from the CGWA for extraction of groundwater. It had installed electromagnetic flow meters for measurement of water consumption and wastewater generation. The data was maintained by the unit on a daily basis.

According to the log book, water consumption during January 1-28, 2020, was 30.02 kilo litres per day. During the visit, it was observed that the unit was not discharging any treated effluent into the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) conveyance system and the pipe connecting PETP outlet to CETP conveyance system was removed.

All the domestic effluent generated was recycled and reused in the process after treatment.

Fatehabad rice mill

The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) in its report to the NGT stated that Kaimi Rice Mills in Fatehabad Road, Ratia, Fatehabad district, was running without obtaining consent to establish (CTE) and consent to operate (CTO) from the HSPCB.

The unit was engaged in manufacturing of kachcha rice, covered under the green category.

A show cause notice for closure under the Water Act, 1974, and legal action under the Air Act, 1981, was sent to the unit vide letter dated November 13, 2019.

The unit was found lying closed on inspection during May 8, 2020. HPCB’s regional office, Hisar, has recommended prosecution action against the unit for running without CTE and CTO.

The HSPCB would also ensure that a strict vigil is kept over the operation of the unit, so that no illegal activity is carried out, the report added.

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