Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding pollution caused by the discharge of industrial effluents in Taloja industrial area, Mumbai, Maharashtra, 03/09/2019

  • 03/09/2019

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Arvind Pundalik Mhatre Vs Ministry of Environment and Forest & Climate Change & Others dated 03/09/2019 regarding pollution caused by the discharge of industrial effluents in Taloja industrial area on the outskirts of Mumbai.

History of the case:

NGT noted that the inspection report filed before the Tribunal from time to time clearly showed that untreated industrial effluents were being discharged in a water body causing damage to the eco system and health of the inhabitants.

The Tribunal through its previous order of April 4, 2018 had directed the CETP operator to deposit interim compensation of Rs. 5 crores to the District Magistrate. Since the pollution continued, further compensation of Rs. 5 crores was required to be paid by the CETP operator A monitoring committee headed by a former Judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice V.M. Kanade was appointed to propose a time bound action plan. The report was considered on April 9, 2019 by the Tribunal. The action plan proposed steps for upgradation of the CETP.

The Tribunal was also informed that the cooperative society operating the CETP had passed a resolution for take over of the CETP by Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), but the pollution had continued unabated. Accordingly, NGT had directed that industries which are source of pollution be shut down till remedial action is taken.

NGT Order of September 3, 2019:

The reports filed by the MPCB and MIDC taken up the Tribunal on September 3, 2019 show that outlet parameters from the CETP are not achieving the norms due to non-completion work of the upgradation of CETP. The status report filed by the MIDC also showed that Rs. 3.90 crores was still to deposited as compensation.

"It is, thus, obvious that CETP operator i.e. MIDC is continuing to commit criminal offence under the provisions of the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 in discharging effluents beyond norms. It is also violating the orders of the Tribunal regarding the payment of compensation as well as not discharging effluents in violation of norms. The MPCB has also not ensured stopping of violation of law" read the September 3, 2019 order.

Counsel for the MIDC has stated that within 15 days only 10 MLD effluents will be received which can be treated and remaining amount of effluents will not be received by CETP. Counsel for MPCB has also made a similar statement that this arrangement will be enforced and necessary order passed.

The NGT directs MIDC to deposit Rs. 5 crores for its failure to contain pollution, even though it had taken over the CETP operation on November 2018. Further, if the remaining amount of compensation as per earlier orders and the current amount is not deposited by September 30, 2019, "salary of CEO, MIDC, Deputy CEO (Environment), MIDC and Member Secretary, MPCB be stopped till compliance." A further compliance report has to be filed by the CEO, MIDC and Member Secretary, MPCB by October 15, 2019. Likewise the monitoring committee has been asked to file its final report by the same date.