Plea against Essar Power MP on fly ash leak; NGT directs petitioner to approach its panel

The NGT Tuesday directed an advocate to approach an oversight committee with his plea seeking action against Essar Power MP Ltd for allegedly damaging crops and environment as fly ash leaked from its power plant in Singrauli.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel asked advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey to apprise the committee, headed by Justice (retired) Rajesh Kumar, on the issue.

The committee also comprises chief secretaries of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, member secretaries of state pollution control boards and district magistrates.

Dubey has sought direction to the company to remove the fly ash, bottom ash, toxic water and other solid wastes from the houses, wells, water bodies, existing crops, agricultural lands of the farmers and to pay damages to the affected persons.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) last year formed the committee to submit an action plan to ensure compliance of its directions in dealing with air and water pollution in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively.

The plea has also sought direction to Essar Power to stop the operation and generation of fly ash, bottom ash, industrial/solid waste, toxic with immediate effect.

The Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) on August 14 had sought an interim compensation of Rs 10 crore from Essar Power MP Ltd for the damage caused to the environment.

The plea said that on August 7 night, huge quantity of fly ash, bottom ash, toxic water and industrial/solid waste entered in the agricultural lands, water bodies, wells and houses of the people residing in village Karsualal, Bandhora, Khairahi and other nearby villages.

He said industrial waste also damaged the existing crops, cattle, and affected the children and people residing nearby, the plea said.

“Due to the same the water has become contaminated and agricultural fields have become unfertile. Houses of the people residing near the industry of Essar Power MP Ltd have been damaged. The children were also trapped due to the sudden breach of ash dyke and later they were rescued. The national, local newspapers and electronic media have reported the said incident,” the plea said

The petition claimed that toxic residue from the power plant spilled into a radius of 5 km, causing panic in the local residents.

“It is submitted that emergency like situation has been arisen in the area and the Essar Power MP Ltd in support of local administration has started making a blame-game story instead of clearing the said toxic waste which has extensively spilled on to the agricultural fields, water bodies and have caused and is causing severe damage to the existing crops,” the plea said.

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