Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (May 15, 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 15 May 2023

201 trees cut / pruned without permission in Una

Cutting or pruning of 201 trees was carried out by a contractor on Daulatpur-Gagret Guglehad road, in Una district, Himachal Pradesh, without permission from concerned authorities and following due procedure. This was mentioned in a status report filed by the state before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) May 13, 2023. 

The act has caused considerable damage. 

Disciplinary action has been initiated against the forest guards posted in the area and an FIR has been registered against the contractor. 

The report was filed by a committee directed by NGT July 4, 2022 to verify the situation and take remedial action. 

The committee also discussed the possibility of levying environmental compensation but it was found that there was no standard guideline / provision according to which environmental compensation can be levied in the matter.

Most of the trees are located on the land in possession of Himachal Pradesh Public Works Department (HPPWD). The committee recommended that HPPWD should also frame a proper mechanism for pruning of trees standing on its land along the roadside. The deputy commissioner of Una furnished a reply before NGT supporting the findings and conclusions drawn by the committee.

Withdrawal of groundwater in Uttar Pradesh cities

Units involved in indiscriminate boring and illegal withdrawal of groundwater in Lucknow, Kanpur, Agra, Meerut, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Bareilly, Varanasi, Jhansi, Ghaziabad and Gorakhpur will be ordered to pay environmental compensation, a Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board report to the NGT, May 15, 2023 said. 

A joint committee in April 2023 inspected 2,028 units, out of which 1,650 units were identified and 378 units were either repeated or not located in the 10 cities. Show cause notices were issued and actions such as closure under the provisions of the Air and Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 were under process.

UPPCB has communicated to district magistrates of the 10 cities and concerned regional officers of the state pollution control board as well as regional director, Northern Region, Central Ground Water Board, Lucknow to inform the defaulter units about the imposition of the amount of final compensation as assessed and imposed by the joint committee in compliance of the National Green Tribunal order, October 17, 2022. 

Legacy chromium dumps at Kanpur sites will be cleared soon: Report

Uttar Pradesh Waste Management Project has lifted 46,457.26 tonnes of the 80,000 tonnes of allocation and treated around 27,000 tonnes of waste from the chromium dumps at Rania, Kanpur Dehat and Rakhi Mandi, Kanpur Nagar. This was mentioned in a supplementary report of the Oversight Committee.

Bharat Oil and Waste Management Ltd has lifted 2,923 tonnes out of the 5,000 tonnes of allocation and treated 1,579.285 MT of waste.

The processing unit has said that they have to complete the work before the rainy season to avoid leaching of the waste into the ground water, the report noted.

The oversight committee inspected the work and based on the arrangements available on the site, progress till date, the pace at which the work was being carried out at the moment and the commitment shown by the two facilities, the target of May of 2023 appears to be achievable, the committee added.

The matter related to the scientific disposal of chromium dumps at Rania, Kanpur Dehat and Rakhi Mandi, Kanpur Nagar which have been in existence since 1976 and has resulted in the contamination of groundwater, thereby depriving the inhabitants of access to proper quality drinking water. 

The NGT passed an order September 23, 2022 directing all concerned to take immediate remedial action for the disposal of legacy chromium waste and also take systematic measures to ensure that such a situation does not arise in the future. 

The oversight committee had reviewed the progress in this case and submitted its report to the NGT from time to time. Now a supplementary report in continuation of the earlier report dated February 22, 2023 presented the status of compliance till March 20, 2023.

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