Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding stone crushers operating in district Mahendergarh, Haryana, 18/01/2023

  • 18/01/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Mahendra Singh Vs State of Haryana & Others dated 18/01/2023.

The matter related to stone crushers operating in district Mahendergarh in Haryana.

The court observed that "inspite of negative carrying capacity of the area in terms of air quality, large number of stone crushers are being permitted to continue".

The court directed remedial action for recovery of compensation for past violations, prohibiting illegally operating stone crushers till compliance and to the extent of carrying capacity. To capture robust data of the area, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was asked to install at least 5 more Continuous Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Stations (CAAQMS) at suitable locations. Pending setting up of CAAQMS, manual stations may be installed.

The bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Sudhir Agarwal directed that the number of stone operating stone crushers be "suitably reduced" so as to be within the carrying capacity, maintaining appropriate inter-se distance as may be suggested by the CPCB. Further, as mentioned in the NGT order of October 26, 2021, no stone crushing unit should be allowed to operate in the area unless the air quality index is moderate and above i.e. below 200.

The NGT also fixed interim compensation at the rate of Rs 20 lakhs against each of the stone crushers operating in the area on polluter pays principle. Compensation will cover the period from 5 years prior to filing of the application (July 11, 2019) and till date and the amount used for restoration of the environment in the area.

Final compensation would be fixed by the joint Committee comprising the District Magistrate, Mahendragarh, Member Secretary, Haryana State Pollution Control Board, CPCB, Forest Department and DFO.

The units which have been identified as non-compliant may be closed forthwith. The units which are not identified but are operating in violation of norms may also be proceeded against for closure till compliance forthwith. The numbers of units which are to be allowed to operate should be fixed having regard to the carrying capacity said the NGT order, January 18, 2022.