Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding contamination of groundwater due to storage of gypsym in village Ler, Bhuj taluk, district Kutch, Gujarat, 01/09/2020
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Marvada Amrutlal Becharlal Vs State of Gujarat dated 01/09/2020. The issue for consideration is the remedial action for contamination of ground water and soil on account of storage of gypsum by M/s Ashapura Group of Companies, village Ler, taluka Bhuj, district Kutch, Gujarat.
The report of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in its report of July 28, 2020 contained the status of compliance based on inspection conducted on July 21, 2020. Out of 39 locations, waste gypsum has been lifted from 26 locations and rest 13 locations are still occupied with waste gypsum. Further, out of 13 locations, unit has started plantation on 2 locations as per recommendation of Gujarat Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organization Ltd. (GITCO).
The unit has disposed 101742 metric tonnes (MT) Gypsum waste to cement industries for co-processing and 42271 MT for the back filling to abandoned mines during January 1, 2019 to July 21, 2020. The report also mentioned the status of groundwater contamination and restoration. With respect to ammonical nitrogen contamination of groundwater, the unit was using fresh lime for neutralization process.
Regarding environmental damage compensation, the District Level Compensation Committee (constituted as per the order of the Gujarat High Court) has assessed compensation of Rs. 31.65 lakhs and the matter was forwarded to the Principal District Judge, Kachchh at Bhuj on July 15, 2020 for further action. However, GPCB has recovered Rs. 97,50,000/ as an environmental damage compensation on June 18, 2019 and Ashapura Group of Companies has given a bank guarantee of Rs.15 lakhs on May 2, 2019.
The NGT directed Ashapura Group of Companies to execute the remaining work expeditiously within next three months which may be overseen by a joint Committee of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the GPCB. The Committee would undertake periodical checks and monitor the remedial measures.