Skip to main content

National Green Tribunal thinks the "polluter pays" principle should be applied selectively on industrial units

By Our Representative
Does the National Green Tribunal (NGT) believe that the well-known polluters pay principle should be applied in exceptional cases only? It would seem so, if a recent judgment it delivered is any guide. Giving its order in a case filed by Gujarat’s environmental body, Paryavaran Mitra, against Hanjer Biotech Energies Pvt Ltd (HBEPL), contracted to dispose of solid waste by the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC), the NGT has reluctantly said the principle be applied on HBEPL. In an order delivered on December 20, it said it believes that the “polluter pays principle” ought to be applied in “peculiar circumstances” alone.
Interestingly, the NGT’s view has come when Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) has filed public interest litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court (click HERE) asking the latter to ensure strict implementation of the “polluter pays principle”, even as demanding that industrial polluters should pay back all the subsidies provided by the various governments to control pollution. The apex court has issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, and chief secretaries of 19 states seeking their response in the matter.
India’s premier quasi-judicial body NGT’s apparent soft attitude towards a party which it declared polluter has come despite the fact that it has accused the HBEPL for failing to take “proper precaution for maintenance of landfill site” and “aggravating the problem of threat to the environment”. It had added, “Inspections carried out from time to time indicated that the contractor had not arranged for proper leachate collection and treatment facilities”.
The NGT observed that the landfill site was “partly covered with plastic sheet”, that there “the excess wastes residue” was being “stacked over and passed over”, and that construction of another landfill site had been “delayed for more than five years” leading to “improper storage and management of municipal solid waste (MSW), resulting into foul smell due to tearing of plastic cover, flowing of leachate, particularly so during rainy season, thereby causing air pollution as well as water pollution.”
It also said that “untreated MSW” was flowing “along with rainy water from the slope of small hillock towards the village side”, adding, all this happened despite the fact that the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) “issued several notices to RMC, indicating deficiencies in the operation of the MSW management plant”. The RMC, apparently, overlooked these notices. In fact, it said, “HBEPL is only a contractor of RMC and therefore has no separate legal rights as such.”
The NGT underlined, “It was repeatedly pointed out that leachate collection and treatment was improper. It was further pointed out by GPCB that at the landfill site, leachate was flowing outside the premises during rainy season creating pools of contaminated water outside the landfill site.”
It even found that this was “a fit case”, in which those villagers, who are having agricultural lands or residences living close to the epicentre “of the present site”, including villagers of Nakravadi, Pipaliya, Nagalpar, Khijadiya, Rajgadh, Sokhda and Hadmatiya etc. should be “identified and be paid compensation.”
Based on all this, it directed the Gujarat Pollution Control Board to carry out a complete survey of all MSWs operated by Gujarat's municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Junagarh and Gandhinagar, apart from Rajkot, as also 50-odd municipalities. The survey reports, it added, should be handed over to the state urban development department, which must ensure that the laxity observed in Rajkot does resurface at othr places.
However, the compensation payable, it declared, has to be just about Rs 20,000 to each farmer who has suffered because of the pollution, for which the district collector, Rajkot, should carry out a survey. And for this, it should "tentatively" deposit a sum of Rs 25 lakh with the district collector. As for the environment body which filed the application, the polluter must pay Rs 1 lakh as expenses, it said, even as rejecting the applicant's contention that the landfill site be handed back to the villages it belonged to.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

PepsiCo warned: Withdraw cases against Gujarat farmers or face dire consequences

By Our Representative
About 200 farmers’ leaders and activists, in a letter to Dr KV Prabhu, chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPVFRA), and Dr R C Agrawal, registrar general, PPVFRA, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Government of India, have demanded that PepsiCo immediately withdraw all the legal suits it has slapped on many potato farmers in different districts of Gujarat.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

During Emergency, the ruler was extolled but Opposition wasn't punched around: Scribe

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released book, “India: The Wrong Transition”, by a top Delhi-based scribe Anand K Sahay, has quoted “journalistic circles” to say that the Indian mainstream media – with certain “honourable exceptions” – has virtually abandoned the “practice of journalism”, and  this happened following a “sting operation” that showed that “the crème de la crème of Indian journalism were only too willing, for a suitable price, to let poisonous Hindutva propaganda prevail in their news columns.”

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".