Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 18, 2022)

Down To Earth brings you top environmental cases heard in Supreme Court, high courts & National Green Tribunal
Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (July 18, 2022)

Repair road for transporting coal from Odisha to Chhattisgarh: NGT

The road used for the transportation of coal from Kulda coal mine in Odisha to Tamnar thermal power plant in Chhattisgarh must be repaired and renovated at the earliest, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) said July 15, 2022.

The tribunal has asked the chief secretaries of the two states to hold a joint meeting with the project proponents and members of the joint committee, constituted by NGT, within a month. They were given a month to work out further course of action, including apportionment of the cost for the construction to protect the environment and enforce environmental clearance (EC) conditions.

In case there is no consensus in the meeting, the committee has to divide the liability of the project proponents of both the states, so that the construction takes place speedily. The meeting should be chaired by the chief secretary of Odisha.

The joint committee would file an action taken report within three months, the NGT order said.

NGT took up the matter after a media report was published about violations of environment norms, particularly EC conditions, in operation of Kulda coal mine and Tamnar thermal plant.

The report allaged that violations took place in the course of transportation of coal from Kulda to Tamnar in 200 dumpers of 21 tonne capacity, requiring 400 daily trips or a truck passing every 3-4 minutes, round the clock, through 14 villages with a combined population of over 15,000, according to Census 2011.

The joint committee constituted by the orders of the NGT acknowledged the violations and recommended remedial action July 11, 2022.

At present, more than 1,400 heavy coal-transporting vehicles (both loaded and unloaded trucks) ply on the road, according to the report. “Heavy traffic of coal transportation vehicles in the major district road has affected the use of the road by villagers for their basic needs.” 

Further, the road in question was in a damaged condition for more than five years and due to this, villagers faced fugitive dust problems and noise issues during plying of vehicles.

All the members of the committee agreed that the road passing through the villages is not in motorable condition and has an impact on the environment, health and safety of local villagers. 

Remove aggressive stray dogs: Uttarakhand HC

The Uttarakhand High Court directed the Nainital Municipal Council to survey the stray dogs within the town to identify and remove aggressive dogs in each pack and place them in dog pounds.

A balance has to be struck between the rights of the stray dogs on the one hand and human beings on the other hand, according to the bench comprising Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and judge Ramesh Chandra Khulbe of the Uttarakhand High Court. “The life and liberty of human beings cannot be sacrificed while preserving the rights of the stray dogs in the area.” 

The municipal council has been asked to file an affidavit on the steps taken to sterilise stray dogs. These directions have to be implemented across Uttarakhand through all the municipalities. 

The secretary of the department of urban development and local bodies as well as the secretary of the department of animal husbandry have been entrusted with communicating the High Court order and ensuring compliance.

Fence Musi to prevent open defecation: Joint committee

It is possible that human excreta is being dumped into Musi river from Tipu Khan bridge in Telangana’s Rangareddy district since the structure lacks fencing on either side, according to a Joint Committee constituted to look into the allegation.

The committee recommended that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and Musi River Front Development Corporation Limited should erect fencing across both sides of Tippu Khan bridge to a minimum height of 10-12 feet, so that human excreta and municipal solid waste cannot be dumped into River Musi.

The July 16 report said the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) and the commissioner and director of the municipal administration should ensure that the septic tankers have permission and also GPS tracking system for collection and disposal of human excreta transported to fecal sludge treatment plants and sewage treatment plants maintained and operated by HMWS&SB. 

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