Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (August 13, 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: Thursday 13 August 2020

Sand mining in river Son

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) filed its report on sand mining at different ghats on river Son in Aurangabad as well as Rohtas districts in Bihar by Aditya Multicon Pvt Ltd. The report was in compliance to the February 19, 2020, National Green Tribunal (NGT) order.

The committee constituted for the purpose inspected the sand ghats on river Son. One of the ghats visited by the committee was Kesao Ghat, Aurangabad. Roads to the ghats were broken and full of mud at many places, according to the report. No pillars or benchmark were observed at the site.

Illegal sand mining was reported near the Kesao sand mining ghat. Marks on the ground of a heavy earth moving machinery (HEMM) were visible. A kuccha pavement (for movement of machinery) was made inside river Son.

The pathway was broken at some places due to rains and water flow. This was in violation to Bihar Minerals (Concession, Prevention of illegal mining, Transportation & Storage Rules), 2019.

The team found that sand was being extracted below and near the bridge pillars at a few places below the Son bridge connecting Aurangabad and Rohtas.

The report was uploaded to the NGT site on August 13. 

Air pollution control in Punjab

The Supreme Court (SC) on August 10 directed Punjab to file a report on information about the biomass projects and the distance from the hot spots where the stubble burning was taking place.

The order came in the wake of the affidavit filed by the state. The apex court asked for clarification in the form of a report. Some of the points raised by the SC were:

  • With respect to the technology developed by the Agricultural Finance Corporation Ltd, the time period needed for dissolution of the stubble
  • The chief secretary, Punjab, asked to point out a ground level arrangement for collection of stubble which can be used as cattle food
  • Steps taken for dedicated equipment reserved for small and marginal farmers for weeding / cutting of the stubble
  • Details of compliance of the SWM Rules, 2016, adopted by all 167 urban local bodies of Punjab

The chief secretary asked to state the state's requirement with respect to existing facilities of recycling of construction and demolition waste and the time it would take to complete pending projects.

Steps to control air pollution in Delhi-NCR

The SC on August 10 said challans and imposition of fines on vehicles using kerosene was insufficient. The SC was hearing an application on steps to control air pollution in Delhi.

The SC also took up the issue of parking policy in Delhi. The Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) informed the court that pilot projects in Krishna Nagar, Kamla Nagar and Lajpat Nagar were working satisfactorily.

It directed that the five corporations of Delhi work in collaboration with EPCA and authorities concerned to form a detailed plan. The court said it would be good that a parking policy be finalised before August 20, 2020.

In the same order, the SC directed the municipal corporations in Rajasthan to file an affidavit on the amount of bio-medical waste collected from the homes of quarantined people.

The report should also carry information on the mode of collection of waste and the method of segregation.

EC for polluting river Ganga

The states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar have yet to deposit the Environmental Compensation (EC) amount imposed on them by the CPCB for failure to complete the sewage treatment projects over river Ganga.

Its calculation for Jharkhand was revised to zero, as out of a total of six drains, two were tapped. Interim measures had been adopted in the remaining four drains.

This was stated in the status report filed by the CPCB on August 11 before the NGT.

The NGT, in its December 12, 2019 order, had directed that there should be timely completion of projects related to sewage treatment by June 31, 2020, in respect of ongoing projects. And by December 31, 2020 in respect of others, failing which compensation had to be paid.

Till then, to avoid untreated sewage being discharged directly into the Ganga, interim remedial measures have to be adopted. Default after November 1, 2019, meant that compensation was to be deposited.

The CPCB filed a compliance report on June 23 with fresh calculations of EC amount for the defaulting drains.

In continuation to the compliance report, it was mentioned that the West Bengal State National Ganga River Basin Authority Management Group vide letter July 8 had informed CPCB that the calculated EC amount of Rs 20 lakh (since November 1, 2019-February 29, 2020) for defaulting drain (Jangipur) had been transferred in the CPCB account on June 26. 

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