Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 13, 2022)

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: Wednesday 14 September 2022

Restore Buckingham Canal original boundaries: Madras HC

The demarcation of the boundary of Buckingham Canal must be completed within six months, the Madras High Court told the Chennai public works department and water resource organisation. Water resource organisation is a department under the Tamil Nadu government. 

“The demarcation has to be made with reference to the original length and breadth of the canal as found in the original records,” the high court said, adding that the canal must be restored to its original boundaries. 

After the demarcation, encroachments on the canal should be removed within a year, the court ordered. All structures on the Buckingham Canal, except the pillars of the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS), flyovers and bridges, should be removed to make the canal navigable within a year, it said. 

The Inland Waterway Authority of India (IWAI) will protect and maintain the canal free from any encroachment after clearing it, the HC said. Tamil Nadu government shall provide necessary assistance to IWAI, which is statutory authority in charge of the waterways. 

The order was passed September 12, 2022 by a bench of Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justice N Mala.

The high court was hearing the matter of encroachments on the Canal Bank Road on the stretch of Kasthuribha Nagar and Indira Nagar. 

Huts of slum dwellers and semi concrete and concrete structures for residential and commercial purposes had come up in the area, the petitioner, Kasthuribha and Indira Nagar Residents Welfare Forum, had alleged. 

Garbage generated due to the encroachment hampered the canal's efficacy as a storm water drain, the plea had contended. 

NGT on Guwahati air quality 

The National Green Tribunal issued a notice to Guwahati Municipal Corporation, Central Pollution Control Board and Pollution Control Board Assam over worsening air quality in Guwahati. 

The tribunal was hearing a plea over the city’s deteriorating air quality and the resultant health effects on its residents. The authorities were directed to file their reply within four weeks.

Guwahati is one of the most polluted cities in the northeast India, the petitioner Himangshu Nath said. The city’s air quality Index shot upto 310 March 13, 2022, while it was 308 March 15, 2022, as reported in the Assam Tribune newspaper April 22, 2022. 

NGT on Hooghly waterbody encroachment 

The NGT ordered the constitution of a committee to look into alleged encroachment on a waterbody in Hooghly district, West Bengal September 12, 2022. 

The panel would visit the site at mouza Kotrung under Uttarpara Kotrung Municipality and submit its report within four weeks, the NGT said. The status of the pond/waterbody  and its total area would be assessed by the panel as per the land records and area of pond encroached. A mouza is a revenue unit.

The water analysis report of the pond/waterbody is to be submitted by the West Bengal Pollution Control Board, NGT said. The panel would also suggest  remedial measures to restore the pond to its original form.

NGT on Gandinali black stone quarries 

The NGT has sent notices to the Union environment ministry and Odisha State Pollution Control Board over the illegal operation of Gandanali black stone quarries in Odisha’s Dhenkanal district. 

The district collector, Dhenkanal; divisional forest officer, Dhenkanal; Odisha State Pollution Control Board; Odisha Environment Impact Assessment Authority; deputy chief controller of explosives and Union ministry of environment, forests and climate change were told to submit their replies within three weeks. 

The black stone quarries were being operated in Andanaali mouza, tehsil Hindol without a valid consent to operate, a petition has alleged. Explosives and heavy machinery like backhoe loaders and dumpers is being used at the quarry site for transporting stones, the plea said. 

The quarry doesn’t have environmental clearance either, it alleged. Trees have been illegally felled for construction of approach road in the gramya jungle forest land without prior approval.

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