Daily Court Digest: Major environment orders (September 19, 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: Tuesday 19 September 2023

Ammonia plant operating without consent

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) directed the constitution of a four-member committee to look into the allegations of pollution caused by Indian Farmers Fertilizers Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), Phulpur in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.

Along with the district magistrate of Prayagraj, the committee will comprise representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board, Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board and Central Ground Water Authority.

The tribunal directed the committee on September 15, 2023 to visit the site and examine if IFFCO is producing ammonia without consent and clearance from competent authorities. The committee has been asked to ascertain the extent of pollution and damages and suggest remedial measures.

NGT asked the committee to submit the report within eight weeks. IFFCO, Phulpur was granted consent only in respect of urea, and no consent for the production of ammonia has been granted, counsel for the applicant said.

Yet, the industry operates the ammonia and urea plant, violating environmental clearance and consent to operate norms under the Air and Water Act.

The industry was allegedly releasing untreated ammonia water. This has affected the soil and crops of the nearby agricultural land and contaminated underground water. Moreover, residual waste and untreated water are drained out to the concrete drain and then to a trench. This has polluted nearby farms as well as a river, the petitioner added.

Encroachments in Bengaluru 

The NGT directed a joint committee on September 15 to look into the allegations of encroachment on 960 acres of lake land in the Bengaluru Urban district.

The joint committee will comprise the following members: The secretary of the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, the chairman of the Lake Development Authority and the concerned district magistrate.

The committee has been directed to submit an action taken report before the southern zone bench of the tribunal within eight weeks. The tribunal took up the case based on a news report.

There is uncleared encroachment on 960.32 acres of lake land. These encroachments have also resulted in polluting the water and dumping of solid waste at the site, according to the news report.

Sewage treatment 

The NGT directed the municipal authorities of Lar, Deoria district, Uttar Pradesh, to analyse sewage samples to ensure compliance with faecal coliform norms and operationalisation of the sewage treatment system.

The tribunal asked the authorities to submit a report before the NGT by December 22, 2023. The NGT was responding to a petition that alleged that the municipal authorities have been discharging untreated sewage in open land.

The NGT, on September 15, 2023, suggested to the principal secretary, urban development, Uttar Pradesh, to explore the possibility of setting up four waste stabilisation ponds instead of the existing two ponds.

The tribunal had earlier directed the constitution of a joint committee to look into the matter. Though parameters of faecal coliform were within the limits, they were on the higher range, it added.

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