NGT imposes ₹100-Cr fine on Haryana Govt for environmental loss

A case was filed in the NGT against a Chinese company, Eco Green Energy Private Limited, which was alleged to have not taken proper care in handling and disposal of solid waste

NGT fine Haryana Govt

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of ₹100 crore on Haryana government as compensation for continuing damages the environment and directed its chief secretary to deposit the sum forthwith.

Giving this order, the NGT bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also asked for setting up a nine-member panel, headed by the chairman of Haryana state pollution control board (HSPCB) to assess if the contractor engaged for disposal of legacy municipal waste were abiding by the stipulated norms.

“The committee may apprise the performance of the contract or engaged as per the concession agreement and if it is found that the contractor has failed to perform as expected, the committee may take suitable alternative arrangement to replace the contractor,” the order said.

During the hearing of the case, the tribunal observed that the failure to maintain environmental norms for handling and disposal of legacy municipal waste at dump sight was leading to damage to environment and public health and the adjacent forest areas. The dump site in question is Bandhwari landfill site at Gurgaon, where about 33 lakh metric tonnes of solid waste is dumped since years.

A case was filed in the NGT against a Chinese company, Eco Green Energy Private Limited, which was alleged to have not taken proper care in handling and disposal of solid waste. The company was engaged by the government in 2017 for waste management. However, it was observed that the waste is being burnt in open leading to severe air pollution, which affects not only the local residents, but also impacts Asola Bhati wildlife sanctuary, which has about 190 species of birds, varied range of medicinal plants, more than 80 species of butterflies, black buck, Golder Jackal and leopard.

The NGT order stated that the state government is under obligation to protect eco sensitive zones by controlling adverse impact of violation of the environment law.

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Tribunal, in its judgement on Friday, said that the state authorities may exercise their jurisdiction to use the nearest available land as per the applicable law for a temporary period to manage the waste on payment of user charges. “If the plant requires mandatory environmental clearance (EC), the authorities may arrange it later, as the pollution was causing damages to the forest, wildlife and water bodies,” the order said

NGT further said that 10-acre land near Bandhwari site, which is already in existence for many years, may be utilised for setting of waste processing facilities to handle the waste generation of the local bodies in question. In case of non-suitability of the land alternative arrangement should be explored.

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The committee will be free to coordinate with statutory regulators for a levying of compensation from those, who have contributed to the pollution under the due process of law. “It (the committee) is deemed to achieve meaningful progress in the matter within six months with substantial headway within three months,” the green court observed.

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