NGT Orders

This section of at Enviro Annotations brings news on NGT Orders, Court Orders. 

Jindal Steel Works Responds to Allegations, Challenges Joint Committee's Findings and Questions OA's Maintainability

9th June 2024 YouTube X LinkedIn


Jindal Steel Works Ltd. responds to environmental violation allegations in NGT hearing, citing procedural discrepancies and contesting findings. The company asserts compliance with permissions and challenges the Joint Committee's reliance on Google Images for mangrove destruction claims. Additionally, Jindal Steel Works questions the OA's maintainability, highlighting non-inclusion of a relevant party and disputing CRZ violations. The firm denies environmental wrongdoing, attributing creek changes to natural phenomena. Subscribe for detailed report.

NGT Kolkata Bench Orders Committee Investigation into Alleged Environmental Violations by Narangarh Khondalite Stone Quarry

29.05.2024 YouTube X LinkedIn 

In the matter of Original Application No. 104/2024/EZ, Nilamani Mahapatra versus State of Odisha & Others, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Eastern Zone Bench has issued an order for a comprehensive investigation into the operations of the Narangarh Khondalite Stone Quarry. The Bench, comprising Justice Sheo Kumar Singh, Judicial Member, and Dr. Arun Kumar Verma, Expert Member, opined that the allegations merit further consideration.

The Tribunal has mandated the formation of a committee to investigate the claims made in the application. The committee will consist of the District Magistrate of Khordha or a representative not below the rank of Additional District Magistrate; a Senior Scientist from the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB); a Senior Scientist from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB); and a Senior Scientist from the State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA), Odisha

Eminent Advocate Sankar Prasad Pani filed the application on behalf of the petitioner. The application asserts that the Narangarh Khondalite Stone Quarry, operating over an 11.45-acre leasehold area in an orchard within Narangarh Mouza, Khordha District, is causing significant environmental degradation. The quarry is adjacent to residential areas in Bhogapur village and is in close proximity to more than three schools/Anganwadi centers within a 200-meter radius.

The petition alleges that the quarry's operations involve heavy machinery for drilling and cutting, leading to substantial noise and air pollution. Bhogapur, described as a densely populated village, is reportedly suffering from layers of dust settling on nearby houses and vegetation. The noise pollution, occurring both day and night, is said to disturb the residents' sleep, adversely affecting the study of children and the health of ailing senior citizens. These conditions are claimed to infringe upon the environmental rights of the local populace.

The NGT has directed the committee to conduct a site visit and submit its findings on affidavit within four weeks, addressing the allegations presented in the application. The District Magistrate of Khordha has been designated as the Nodal Officer responsible for coordinating the logistics and ensuring the timely filing of the committee's report on affidavit.

The matter is scheduled for further hearing on 8th August 2024. This investigation underscores the tribunal's commitment to addressing environmental concerns and ensuring the protection of community rights against industrial activities.

NGT's View on CER

29.05.2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

When people were busy searching for the "ilomilo theory," we were focusing on recent views by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER). On 28th May 2024, the NGT delivered a detailed judgment on a case involving marble mining operations in Haryana. The judgment, reserved on 22nd March 2024, was pronounced by Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, Judicial Member, and pertains to Original Application No. 454/2023.

The NGT's deliberations revealed significant findings concerning the CER activities, which have been weakened by the incumbent Central Government. The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) reported that the marble miner concerned had implemented the proposed CER activities. However, the NGT found that the miner had not provided detailed expenditure reports to show the utilization of the budget allocated for CER activities. The tribunal emphasized that CSR/CER activities should be aligned with social and environmental management goals and should be carried out in the vicinity of the project and surrounding areas. Active participation of the Gram Panchayats of the affected and neighboring villages, as well as the District Environment Committee, is essential. The budget earmarked for CER activities should be meaningfully utilized for environmental restoration, protection, and improvement.

The judgment directed the marble miner to undertake several actions to ensure compliance and enhance community involvement. The miner must carry out blasting operations with advance intimation to local residents and by blowing a siren, ensuring strict adherence to the conditions imposed by blasting permissions. Additionally, the miner is required to conduct the requisite plantation of native species in consultation with forestry experts during the forthcoming monsoon season and submit a compliance report to the HSPCB within three months.

The NGT also mandated that the miner comply with the environmental clearance (EC) condition regarding dust suppression around the mining site. The miner must maintain a logbook recording the number of water tankers used daily and provide complete details to the HSPCB every three months. Furthermore, the miner is directed to execute CER projects in the vicinity of the project and surrounding areas, with active involvement from the Gram Panchayats and the District Environment Committee. The budget earmarked for CER activities must be utilized effectively, and a detailed report of CER activities and expenses incurred must be submitted to the HSPCB every three months.

The HSPCB has been tasked with verifying the compliance of these directives and filing a verification report within two months after the miner's submission of compliance reports. If necessary, the matter may be brought before the Bench for further directions.

This judgment underscores the NGT's commitment to ensuring that industrial activities are conducted responsibly, with a focus on environmental sustainability and community engagement. The directives aim to promote transparency, accountability, and active participation of local communities in environmental management, thereby fostering sustainable development practices in the mining sector.

Two Interesting Judgments on Tree Cutting

29.05.2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

On May 28, 2024, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) delivered two significant judgments on environmental violations reserved on December 13, 2023. These judgments were issued in the cases of Original Application No. 246/2023 (Satya Narayan Singh vs. Forest Department, Firozabad and Others) and Original Application No. 505/2022 (Devendra Kumar vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Others). The Bench, comprising Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and Expert Members Dr. A. Senthil Vel and Dr. Afroz Ahmad, focused on the illegal cutting of trees in both cases.

In the case of Original Application No. 246/2023, the applicant, Satya Narayan Singh, highlighted the illegal cutting of 14 Neem trees by two individuals, which was in violation of the Supreme Court order dated May 8, 2015, in W.P (C) No. 13381/1984 (M.C. Mehta vs. Union of India and Others), as well as the directives issued by the NGT and existing environmental norms. The NGT emphasized the necessity of addressing the widespread illegal tree cutting, underlining the need for environmental restoration through compensatory measures. The tribunal, invoking Sections 14, 15, and 33 of the NGT Act, mandated that every individual found guilty of illegal tree cutting must plant and nurture two trees for each tree felled, over a period of five years. These plantations should occur in the next rainy season within the violator's land or an approved location by the Divisional Forest Officer. In cases of non-compliance, the Divisional Forest Officer is authorized to execute the plantation and recover the costs as arrears of land revenue.

In Original Application No. 505/2022, the grievance was the unauthorized construction of a road from Khoda Thatch to Jogni Gala in Bali Chawk, District Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. The applicant, Devendra Kumar, asserted that this construction would result in the illegal cutting of green trees, violating environmental norms and the Supreme Court's directives. The NGT noted that Damage Reports had been issued by the Forest Guard, with fines collected from offenders. However, the tribunal stressed that mere issuance of Damage Reports and fine collection does not suffice for environmental restoration. The Divisional Forest Officer, Nachan Forest Division, Gohar, Himachal Pradesh, was directed to undertake remedial measures to reclaim and restore land affected by unauthorized muck dumping.

The construction had led to the cutting of 30 Rai and Tosh trees, totaling a standing volume of 83.335 cubic meters. Compliance with Supreme Court orders resulted in the planting of 300 different species in degraded forest land, with Rs. 481,000/- allocated for compensatory afforestation by the Himachal Pradesh Public Works Division Thalout. The Divisional Forest Officer was instructed to ensure the completion of compensatory afforestation during the upcoming monsoon season and to submit an Action Taken Report within three months.

NGT Pronounces Order on Riverbed Sand Mining Case in Haryana

28.05.2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

Today, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) pronounced its order on Appeal No. 19/2022 in the matter of Junaid Ayubi & Ors. versus State of Haryana & Ors. The order, issued by the Bench comprising Justice Prakash Shrivastava, Chairperson, along with two Expert Members, Dr. A. Senthil Vel and Dr. Afroz Ahmad, had been reserved on 14th February 2024.

The appeal challenged the Environmental Clearance (EC) dated 29th January 2022, which was issued for riverbed sand mining in the Yamuna River at village Jairampur Jagiri, Tehsil Jagadhri, District Yamuna Nagar, Haryana. The appellants contended that the EC contained a condition mandating a replenishment study after the commencement of the project, which they argued was not permissible.

Citing the NGT's order dated 11th March 2022, in Appeal No. 23/2021, Pramod v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors., the appellants asserted that the necessity of a replenishment study before granting a sand mining lease had been established. They argued that issuing an EC for riverbed sand mining without conducting a replenishment study rendered the clearance legally untenable.

The NGT noted that in the current case, the EC was indeed issued without a prior replenishment study. Consequently, the EC dated 29th January 2022, was deemed flawed. However, the Tribunal decided not to interfere with the said EC at this stage. It observed that the initial one-year period had lapsed, a replenishment study had been conducted for the subsequent year, and the applicant had been protected by an interim order from the Supreme Court in Civil Appeal No. 5194/2022, issued on 22nd August 2022.

NGT Directs K.K. Concrete Products to Implement Amicus Curiae's Environmental Recommendations and Undergo SPCB Monitoring

18.05.2024 YouTube X LinkedIn  Blogger 

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued its judgment on May 17, 2024, following a case between Dinesh Singla and K.K. Concrete Products Pvt. Ltd. The applicant sought closure of the industry due to environmental violations. Allegations included air and noise pollution from heavy machinery and transportation, particularly impacting senior citizens and children. During hearings, additional pollution sources were identified. NGT, led by Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi and Dr. Afroz Ahmad, addressed concerns regarding malpractice and pollution. They emphasized dust emissions from vehicular movement as a major issue. NGT dismissed the case's malpractice claims and mandated remedial actions, including the implementation of Amicus Curiae suggestions and HSPCB monitoring, to be completed within three months.

NGT Takes Up Long-pending PIL on River Gomti Pollution

14.05.2024

The Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) convened on 13th May 2024, to deliberate on a significant case originating from the transfer of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) No. 4436/2003 by the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, Lucknow. This transfer order dated 31st January 2024, marked a pivotal moment in the legal trajectory of addressing environmental concerns surrounding the discharge of untreated water and municipal waste into River Gomti.

The NGT Bench, comprising Justice Prakash Shrivastava, Chairperson, Justice Arun Kumar Tyagi, Judicial Member, and Dr. A. Senthil Vel, Expert Member, took cognizance of the transferred PIL. They directed the issuance of notices to all concerned parties, including the petitioner and respondents, intimating the next date of hearing scheduled for 27th August 2024.

Punjab Pollution Control Board Submits Report to NGT on Alleged Environmental Violations by Nectar Life Sciences 

13.05.2024

The Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) has recently forwarded a comprehensive report to the National Green Tribunal (NGT) regarding environmental concerns raised against Nectar Life Sciences Limited. This report, pertaining to Original Application No. 173/2023 in the case of Shallabjit Singh v/s State of Punjab and Others, has been made public by the NGT on its official website.

The report addresses allegations made by Shallabjit Singh against Nectar Life Sciences Limited, accusing the company of discharging highly polluted chemical effluents in agricultural fields, resulting in crop damage and land degradation. However, despite the extensive 80-page report, there appears to be a lack of emphasis on the impact of soil contamination.

Highlighting the seriousness of the matter, the NGT has issued directives to the Member Secretary of PPCB to take appropriate action against concerned officers who failed to act despite knowing that Nectar Life Sciences did not possess the necessary consent to operate legally.

In response, the Member Secretary of PPCB provided insights into the timeline of the company's consent to operate under the Water and Air Acts, indicating procedural lapses in the renewal process. Despite several inspections and subsequent refusals, the company was eventually granted consent at a reduced capacity, raising questions about regulatory adherence.

Furthermore, the report submitted by PPCB contains analysis results, including instances of 'Below Detection Limit' (BDL) without clarification on detection thresholds. Additionally, concerns are raised regarding sludge disposal practices and incomplete groundwater monitoring data, indicating potential shortcomings in environmental monitoring protocols.

The report also sheds light on the discrepancies related to the NOC issued by the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and inadequacies in addressing fly ash emissions from the company's operations.

Amidst these revelations, questions arise about the efficacy of existing environmental regulatory frameworks and the adequacy of enforcement mechanisms in ensuring environmental justice.

As the NGT deliberates on the submitted report and subsequent actions, it underscores the critical need for robust environmental governance to address emerging challenges and uphold the principles of environmental justice.