Judgment of the National Green Tribunal on payment of interim environmental compensation by Bhushan Power and Steel Limited, Sambalpur, Odisha, 11/04/2022
Judgment of the National Green Tribunal (Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata) in the matter of Bhagawan Padhan & Others Vs M/s Bhushan Power and Steel Limited, Sambalpur, Odisha & Others dated 11/04/2022.
The original application has been filed alleging violation of environmental norms by M/s Bhushan Power and Steel Limited, operating in district Sambalpur, Odisha. It is stated that the industry is illegally depositing coal ash in the agricultural land of villagers which is their only means of income.
An affidavit was filed by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board, March 28, 2022 - bringing on record an inspection report of an inspection carried out, February 24, 2022 to know the state of compliances carried out by the unit. Water and soil samples have been collected for analysis and a final report is awaited.
The NGT directed the Department of Environmental Science, Sambalpur University to submit its report on the water and soil samples by April 30, 2022 and compliance of the same has to be ensured by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board by May 30, 2022. The court took note of the fact that Bhushan Power and Steel Limited vide its letter, January 4, 2022 to the West Bengal Pollution Control Board said that they will close down the disposal at Derba site, October 30, 2022 and would submit alternative solid waste disposal site by February 28, 2022. But till date it has not submitted any plan for the alternative solid waste disposal site to the SPCB.
The NGT, April 11, 2022 directed closing down the disposal at Derba site by October 30, 2022 and submit an alternative solid waste disposal site by April 30, 2022. The Odisha State Pollution Control Board has been entrusted to ensure compliance of the court directions failing which the SPCB would proceed against the industry with respect to violation of environmental norms in accordance with law.
Bhushan Power and Steel Limited in its affidavit to the NGT had assailed the imposition of interim Environmental Compensation at Rs. 57,60,000/-by the Odisha State Pollution Control Board and in their affidavit they have stated that the pollution index which has been considered as 80 has been drawn from the Odisha State Pollution Control Board order No.8333, July 11, 2018 when the present management of the industry was not even in existence. Thus, the industry contended that for the affairs and acts of the old management in running the Plant - the present management cannot be fastened with the liability of Environmental Compensation. The NGT called the argument by the industry as "absolutely fallacious" and said that M/s Bhushan Steel and Power Limited, would be liable and "the liability of the present management would not be distinguishable or separable from the liability of the old management," the NGT Judgment, April 11, 2022 said.