New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal has formed a committee to assess and suggest compensation from thermal power stations operating in Singrauli and Sonbhadra districts in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for causing air and water pollution.
A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel constituted the committee comprising representatives of the Ministry of Environment, Forests (MoEF), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) to look into the issue. "We constituted a committee comprising representatives of MoEF, CPCB, UPPCB and MPPCB to look into the matter and in the light of assessment, statutory authorities may take appropriate action in the matter by assess and recovery of compensation for damage to the environment from the identified polluters after following due procedure of law and furnish a report to this tribunal within three months by e-mail," the bench said.
The tribunal also noted that pollution in the area has been noted by it in a separate case in which it also formed a committee which confirmed the fact that Rihand Reservoir needs restoration, but no compensation for damage to the environment has been assessed and recommended, it said.
"We may note that the committee constituted by this tribunal is to oversee the compliance of environmental norms but at the same time the pollution caused is actionable by invoking the principle of 'Polluter Pays' which may require assessment of cost of damage and restoration," the bench said.
The tribunal directed the applicant to furnish a complete set of papers to MoEF, CPCB, UPPCB and MPPCB and file an affidavit of service within a week. The green panel was hearing a plea filed by Anjani Jaiswal seeking a direction to recover compensation on 'Polluter Pays' principle for restoration of the environment from the thermal power stations like -- Northern Coalfields Kakri Project, Dudhichua Project, among others.
According to the plea, the said units have been causing air pollution and water pollution in violation of environmental norms in the last two decades. Surface and underground water have been polluted affecting rivers like Son, Renu, Bijul, Kanhar, Gopad, Pankagan, Kathauta Kachan and streams or nalas like Ballia Nala, Chatka Nala, Kahuwa Nala, Tippa Jharia, Dongia Nala, among others, it said. Water has been contaminated by toxic effluents discharged, chemicals and fly ash and is not fit for consumption, the plea said.