NGT directs MoEF to appoint members/chairperson of EAC/SEAC persons who are related to the field

The National Green Tribunal in the judgement on 17 July 2014 in Kalpvriksh & others vs Union of India (Application no. 116 (THC) of 2013) directed ‘MoEF not to appoint experts as members/Chairperson of the EAC/SEAC under these head unless the said experts in the above field is/are directly relatable to the various fields of environmental jurisprudence.’ NGT further directed ‘MoEF to provide eligibility criteria and specific requirements for the person to be appointed as Chairperson of the EAC/SEAC in Appendix VI within one month from  today.’

Background of the case is that MoEF has made it mandatory for certain specified categories of projects to obtain Environmental Clearance prior to commencing any project work. Environment protection is regulated under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. Under the Act, the Central Government has framed Environment Clearance Regulations, 2006 vide Notification No. S.O. 1533(E) dated 14th September, 2006. This is also known as EIA Notification, 2006. Paragraph 5 of the Notification deals with constitution of EAC and SEAC. Appendix VI to the Notification provides the eligibility criteria for the Chairperson and Members of EAC or SEAC.

Applicants argued that MoEF has failed to appreciate the significance of the appraisal process as part of the Environmental Clearance procedure under the EIA Notification of 2006 and has been appointing persons as chairperson and members of the EAC who do not have the requisite expertise on the necessary issues of environmental significance. Given the complex nature of environment issue, it is essential that the EAC should have been composed of people who are well versed with social and environmental context of development related decision making.

The judgement is attached.

Pushp Jain

EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC),

New Delhi 110048 India

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Kalpvriksh vs UoI 116 2013AppTHC 17Jul2014 final order

Polluting textile and other industries in Jodhpur to pay Rs 5 Lakh each to Government

Pollution Control Board to plan for complete wastewater collection, treatment and reuse and achieve zero discharge

The Principal Bench (Delhi) of the National Green Tribunal in Laxmi Suiting versus State of Rajasthan and Others (the Tribunal has clubbed  ‘62 appeals/applications,  as  they  raise  common  questions  of  law, based upon somewhat similar facts’, filed by the industries in Jodhpur as by Laxmi Suiting), in its judgement on 1st May 2014 observed that Laxmi Suiting, along with the other applicants are not entitled to the benefit of Section 25(7) of the  Water  (Prevention and  Control  of  Pollution) Act,  1974  (the Water Act) which provides that when an application seeking consent of the State Pollution Control Board for establishment or operation of new sources of sewage discharge, which is complete in all respect is made, such consent will be deemed to have been granted if no reply is given by the Board, within a period of four months.. It further observed that the Jodhpur Pradushan Niwaran Trust (the body from whom the permission was sought) had not acted arbitrarily or in contravention to the principles of natural justice, while revoking the application of the applicants or ordering their closure. 

The  Trust  is  a  body  established  with  the  sanction  and  permission  from  the Government.  It established a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP)  and gave permission to the members,  like the applicant,  to discharge effluents into the drain that would be  carried  to  the CETP of  the  Trust  and  treated  there prior  to further  discharge. 

The applicants had filed the cases in relation to the rejection of their application to use the CETP of the Trust for treating the discharged effluents. 

The Tribunal observed that the applicants fell within the category of industries which had been established without the consent of the State Pollution Control Board (as provided under Section 25(5) of the Water Act), which bars the very application of Section 25(7) of the Water Act. Further, it observed that the applicants were non-compliant, polluting industries and were offending the provisions of the Water Act. 

The Tribunal further observed that the applicants had not suffered any prejudice, as when the directions were issued under the Section 33A (which empowers the State Pollution Control Board to issue directions, which also includes directing the closure, prohibition or the regulation of any industry or its operation) suffered from the defect of non-compliance and violation of the principle of audi alteram partem, as specifically built in Rule 34 of the Water Rules (which governs the application of Section 33A of the Water Act). The applicants cannot be permitted to take advantage of such non-compliance and continue to pollute the environment. As a result no violation of principles of natural justice can be said to have been done by the Trust. 

The Tribunal has issued several directions, the important among which are that the Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Limited, the Trust, and the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board to formulate a time targeted action plan for complete wastewater collection, treatment and reuse within one month from the date of this order to achieve zero discharge. It also directed that all industrial units operating without the consent of the Board will be liable to pay Rs five lakh each to the State Government/Board for causing pollution, failing to take appropriate measures and establishing anti pollution devices, as required by the law. 

The Tribunal further directed the State Board to monitor the quantum of waste water generated periodically for which consent is to be granted or will be granted to the industries which are connected to the CETP. It further instructed the State Board to conduct inspection of the CETP of the Trust as well as the industrial units in and around the industrial estate at regular intervals and ensure that they are discharging trade effluents in accordance with the specified limits and prescribed standards. 

It directed the Trust to enhance its present capacity to accommodate the entire effluent generated in the industrial area. 

Pushp Jain & Joyti Ranjan Deo

EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC), New Delhi

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Luxmi Suiting vs State of Raj 394 2013THCApp 01May 2014 final order

NGT Orders Jubilant Industries (Nira) in Maharashtra to deposit Rs 25 lakh for Compensation to Farmers

Justice V.R. Kingaonkar (Judicial Member) & Dr. Ajay A. Deshpande (Expert Member) of the Western Bench (Pune) of the National Green Tribunal have ordered deposit of Rs 25 lakh by Jubilant Industries (Nira) in the Pune district of Maharashtra to be paid as compensation to farmers for loss of income, if any, on the ‘principle of polluter pays’ for pollution of water-bodies including river Nira.

This was in the judgement in the case of Janardan Pharande and others versus MoEF, Jubilant Industries and others (Application no. 07(THC)/2014(WZ) on dated 16th May, 2014. The Tribunal observed that ‘there is reliable evidence to draw inference about continuation of

Pollution caused to water of ‘Nira’ river as a result of discharging of Industrial effluent/spent wash by Jubilant Industry.’

Read more: NGT Orders Jubilant Industries (Nira) in Maharashtra to deposit Rs 25 lakh for Compensation to...

Lloyds Metal and Engineering Ltd imposed cost of Rs 10 Lakh by NGT

 NGT - Maharashtra Pollution Control Board not making Efforts to Control Air Pollution

-Lloyds Metal and Engineering Ltd imposed cost of Rs 10 Lakh

The Western Bench (Pune) of the National Green Tribunal in Vinesh Madanaya Kalwal versus State of Maharashtra & others (Application No. - 30/2013) in its judgement dated 16th May, 2014 observed that Lloyds Metal and Engineering Limited was not complying with repeated directions by the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) for control of air pollution. Nevertheless, the Tribunal also came heavily against MPCB for it had not made any specific efforts, as envisaged under the provisions of the Air Act for taking remedial measure or recovering cost for remedial measure. 

The Applicant had filed the case related to air pollution caused because of industrial units in village Ghuggus in Chandrapur like Lloyds Metal and Engineering Ltd, Western Coalfield Limited (WCL) and ACC Cement. 

The Tribunal found that air emission from the industrial activities of the Lloyds and Western Coalfield exceeds the standards in concentrations for a substantial period since its commissioning. The air pollution control system provided by the companies ‘cannot be said to be adequate.’

The Tribunal directed that the MPCB shall frame ‘enforcement policy’ in 12 weeks and publish it in its website for public information.

The Tribunal imposed cost of Rs. 10 lakhs towards environmental damages by Lloyds which is to be deposited with the Collector, Chandrapur within 8 weeks, who shall use the amount for environmental improvement activity in the village Ghuggus. Lloyd has also been ordered to pay cost of Rs.10,000 to the Applicant towards cost of litigation.

Pushp Jain

EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC)

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Vinesh vs SOMaha 30 2013 AppWZ 16May 2014

NGT Directions on Working of Madhya Pradesh Forest Development Corporation

The Bhopal Bench of the National Green Tribunal in the judgement in Jagat Ram Chicham Versus the State of Madhya Pradesh and others (Original Application No. 44/2014 (CZ) on 8 May 2014 on the issue of functioning of Madhya Pradesh Forest Development Corporation (MPFDC)  vis-a-vis Forest Department and involvement of community e.g. the established institutional arrangements for management of certain forests such as JFM committees / Van Samrakshan Samiti in its working of cutting and planting of trees in the forest has issued detailed directions. 

The State Government and the Forest Department are required to examine the following directions and take decisions and implement them to avoid conflicts with the local communities in future and make them to participate in the activities of the MPFDC. 

(1) The Government of M.P. provided a mechanism for “lease rent” determination and working relationship between the State Forest Department and the MPFDC in Circular No. 25/11/79/10/2 dated 14th November, 1979. After that it appears that no review has been taken up in this regard and no updated/revised guidelines have been issued by the State Government though many developments such as revision of the National Forest Policy in 1988, issuing guidelines on encouraging Community Participation in afforestation and management of degraded forests under the JFM concept by constituting JFM committees, amendments to the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, enacting Biological Diversity Act, 2002, making it mandatory to implement Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) under the Companies Act, 2012 etc. have taken place after 1979. Therefore, urgent revision of the aforesaid guidelines is required. The State Government of Madhya Pradesh shall immediately convene a meeting in this regard with all the concerned stakeholders and review the existing provisions and take action to revise the guidelines in tune with the changing circumstances. 

(2) The State Forest Department issued guidelines in 2003 for identification and transfer of forest areas to the MPFDC for raising the plantations. After that, further set of guidelines have been issued for transfer of forest land in 2009. These require further amendment to take care of the interest of local communities. Though JFM Committees are reported to be involved in preparation of Working Plans especially with regard to the issues pertaining to Nistar privileges which are discussed under the participatory approach, it is high time to make a provision that the issue of transfer of forest land to the MPFDC is discussed with JFM Committees so that their aspirations and wishes may find place in the forest management plans.  Determination  of  various  Treatment  Types  to  be undertaken  in  the  handed  over  forest  areas,  may  also  be discussed  with  the  local  communities  to  ascertain  Nistar  and Non  Timber  Forest  Produce  (in  short  NTFP)  needs  of  the community. 

(3)  The  Government  Resolutions  on  the  concept  of  JFM have been notified in the Gazette of  Madhya Pradesh in 1991, 1995,  2000  and  2001  but  no  role  has  been  envisaged  for  the MPFDC  in the  above  Resolutions.  Thus almost 13 years have elapsed,  after  the  latest  Resolution  was  notified  by  the Government  in the year 2001. Therefore  the  Government  may review  the  Resolution,  2001  and  insert  appropriate  provisions specifying  the  role  and  duties  and  responsibilities  of  the MPFDC  vis-a-vis  JFM  committees  in the  areas handed over to the MPFDC. 

(4)  From the perusal of  the record placed before us and the averments made  during the course of hearing it is observed that though  adequate  provision  has  been  made  for  Participatory Rural  Appraisal  (in  short  PRA)  in  the  preparation  of    Microplans  of  JFM  committees,  these  provisions  are  found  not implemented in  letter  & spirit.  Specific provision may be made on  conducting  PRA,  preparation  of  Micro-plans  of  JFM committees  and    they shall  find  place  in the CSR Plan of  JFM committees. 

 (5)  As  per  the  record  placed  before  us  it  is  found  that  at present,  Zonation  Plan  for    conservation  of  biodiversity, demarcation  and  management  of  ecologically  fragile  zones, NTFP  propagation  etc.  is not being prepared.  It  should  be prepared  before  commencing  the  treatment  of  the  forest  area handed over to the Corporation. The  ecologically fragile zones should be protected against all decimating factors. 

(6)  Certain  percentage  of    the  gross  forest  area,  may  be about    3  to  5%,  may  be  earmarked  for  treating  under biodiversity  conservation  plan  and  for  NTFP  propagation giving  emphasis  on  planting  of  NTFP  species  of  villagers’ choice and  another  3 to 5%  of the  forest area  may  be reserved for wildlife  management  activity including  the management of riparian zones around    the  water bodies, rivers, streams, canals etc.  so  that  the  needs  of   forest  dependent  communities  are taken care of  in the long run and local biodiversity and wildlife is preserved well.

 (7)  It  is also  directed  that the  MPFDC  should  spend  some amount  of their  profits  for maintenance of  wildlife  corridors  in case  the  forest  areas  handed  over  to  them  are  falling  in  the corridors  or  located  adjacent  to  the  corridors  for  effective wildlife conservation.  It may be examined to keep the  amount at  the  disposal  of  the  MPFDC  by  creating  an  ‘Autonomous Fund’. 

Initially this petition was filed as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh Principal Seat at Jabalpur in Writ Petition No. 3219/2013. The petition was made to restrain the functioning of Madhya Pradesh Forest Development Corporation (MPFDC)  and  stop it from cutting  trees  in the  forest in Mandla District of Madhya Pradesh. 

Pushp Jain

EIA Resource and Response Centre (ERC)

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Jagat RamMP 44_2014AppCZ 8 May 2014 final order

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