Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (June 16, 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: Tuesday 16 June 2020

Tyre burning in Jind village 

Pollution caused by a rubber factory by burning tyres in village Ikkas in Haryana’s Jind district, resulting in huge pollution and damage to the public health and the environment, was taken up by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on June 15, 2020.

An action taken report filed by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) informed the tribunal that on verification, allegations of pollution were found correct and order of closure was passed, apart from recommending prosecution and assessment of environment compensation.

The said order, however, was stayed on March 4, 2020 by the Appellate Authority under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

The NGT noted that the Appellate Authority was not headed by a former judge of the high court as required. Keeping in mind the above facts, the NGT directed the state of Haryana to take remedial action so that the Appellate Authority was manned as per directions of the Supreme Court.

“There was no occasion for the Appellate Authority to stay remedial action at the cost of violation of law and public health,” the order by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Sheo Kumar Singh said.

The state PCB should have challenged the order by way of further appeal, it added. The NGT directed the Chief Secretary, Haryana, to look into the matter, take remedial action and file a compliance report before October 19, 2020.

Groundwater extraction

Extraction of groundwater and illegal installation of reverse osmosis plants for commercial purposes in Hamayupur, Haryana’s Rohtak district attracted a fine of Rs 16,78,125 from the Haryana State Pollution Control Board.

This was in pursuance to the NGT order for remedial action against the units. The green tribunal directed that the assessed compensation be taken expeditiously in accordance with law.

Muck disposal of Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric project

The Uttarakhand Pollution Control Board submitted its report on the muck disposal and management for the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric project of National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd, Uttarakhand, in pursuance to the NGT order.

The report stated that in Tapovan-Vishnugad hydroelectric power project, two muck disposal sites at Dhak and TBM were active. The Dhak muck disposal site was active, but was near completion.

Downstream slope of dumped material was prone to severe erosion during high intensity rainfall event. Dump surface was mostly uneven and undulating with dominance of boulder, rock fragments and inert material.

Further, the site was not fully utilised to its capacity as usable part of muck generated might have been used in construction, said the report.

Likewise, the muck disposal near TBM was active and dumping was underway. Upstream side of the muck dump was subjected to entry of water, which could further trigger mass erosion. In addition to the two active muck disposal sites, there are three completed disposal sites, according to the report.

The sites were moderately stabilised. Native grass and shrubs provided a little vegetation cover. Toe protection and contour stone walls were constructed but some of them were damaged or overturned, the report added.

The committee recommended that toe / contour stone wall in each of the muck dump be strengthened and constructed with proper engineering design.

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