Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution by thermal power stations operating in the Districts of Singrauli and Sonebhadra, 24/05/2019
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Anjani Jaiswal Vs Union of India & Others dated 24/05/2019 regarding pollution by thermal power stations operating in the Districts of Singrauli and Sonebhadra in the States of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. According to the applicant, the power plants have been causing air pollution and water pollution in violation of environmental norms in the last two decades. The violation of norms has resulted in damage caused to water bodies, including Rihand Reservoir. Surface and underground water have been polluted affecting rivers like Son, Renu, Bijul, Kanhar, Gopad, Pankagan, Kathauta Kachan, etc. and streams/nalas like Ballia Nala, Chatka Nala, Kahuwa Nala, Tippa Jharia, Dongia Nala and others.
The report of the Committee dated 31.12.2018 constituted by the Tribunal confirms the fact that Rihand Reservoir needs restoration but no compensation for damage to the environment has been assessed and recommended. NGT says that the Committee is responsible to oversee the compliance of environmental norms but at the same time the pollution caused is actionable by invoking the principle of ‘Polluter Pays’ which may require assessment of cost of damage and restoration.
The Tribunal directs constitution of a committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to look into the matter and in the light of assessment, the statutory authorities may take appropriate action in the matter by assessing and recovery of compensation for damage to the environment from the identified polluters after following due procedure of law and furnish a report to the Tribunal within three months. In view of provisions for limitation, compensation has to be assessed only for damage in the last five years.