NGT imposes Rs 2-lakh fine on HP pollution control board

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The National Green Tribunal on Wednesday imposed a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board for failing to take action against a metal production unit in the state’s Sirmour district.

A bench comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore and expert member S S Garbyal directed the company, Radiant Cement Company Pvt Ltd, to get environmental impact assessment appraisal conducted and obtain environmental clearance in accordance with EIA Notification, 2006 and subsequent amendments.

The tribunal’s order came on a plea filed by Ayush Garg highlighting the environmental pollution being caused by the cement company.

According to the plea, the unit has been running for manufacturing of stainless steel ingots and stainless steel flats with an installed capacity of 9,600 Metric Tonnes per Annum (MTPA) for the furnace and 43,200 MTPA for rolling per annum on a single shift of eight hours a day in violation of the provisions of the EIA Notification, 2006.

The plea said as per paragraph 3(a) of the EIA Notification, 2006 pertaining to secondary metallurgical industry, all toxic and heavy metal producing units above 20,000 tonnes per annum need an environmental clearance.

It claimed that the unit has wilfully and knowingly not obtained the environmental clearance in violation of EIA Notification, 2006.

The tribunal in its order said, “In view of above submissions and records placed before us, we are convinced that the capacity of the rolling mill of the Respondent no. 3 is 43,200 MTPA on single shift basis of 8 hours and, therefore, is covered under the EIA Notification, 2006 and subsequent amendments. We, therefore, direct that the Respondent no. 3 may approach the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for environmental impact assessment appraisal and environmental clearance in accordance with EIA Notification, 2006 and subsequent amendments.

“Until the environmental clearance is obtained, operation of the unit will remain suspended. We also direct Himachal Pradesh State Pollution Control Board to pay cost of Rs 2,00,000 for failing to take action against the unit of the Respondent no. 3 for operating without environmental clearance which in this case was mandatory since the capacity of rolling mill is more than the threshold limit of 30,000 MTPA. This cost be paid within one week from today and same be deposited with Nation Green Tribunal Bar Association, New Delhi,” the bench said. — PTI

Source : The Tribune