The National Green Tribunal has directed the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments to to install online air quality monitoring systems in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts after a plea alleged pollution in these areas due to industrial and mining activities.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar also ordered installation of reverse osmosis (RO) water purification plants so that the residents get potable water.
Land for installation of RO plant would be provided by the state government or the village panchayat and the entire cost for installation and maintenance would be borne by the industries, the bench said.
“We direct the Member Secretary of state pollution control boards, District Magistrates and the concerned officer of the industry or the thermal plant to ensure that every village in Singrauli region including coal mining area, is provided with an RO plant to ensure that residents of the village get potable water.
“All the industries shall be liable to bear the cost in discharge of their corporate social responsibility as well as on the fact that the existing pollution is attributable to them in one way or the other,” the bench said.
All the stone crushers which are operating in these regions without permission from the competent authority should be shut down without further notice, the NGT said.
“The stone crushers which are permitted to operate would also be responsible for installation of RO system at the place where there are number of stone crushers running and they would be guided by the same directions as above,” it said.
The tribunal formed two supervisory committees in both the states comprising secretary of the Environment department of the respective states, Member Secretaries of state pollution control boards, District Magistrates and others which would submit a monthly report.
The order came as the NGT disposed of a plea filed by advocate Advocate Ashwani Dubey opposing power projects in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts on the ground that they were causing air and water pollution.
The lawyer had also opposed grant of sanction for any new project or expansion of the existing units till an action plan for improving environment is implemented.
The petition had also sought that existing power plants and other industries in the area be directed to install modern devices and equipment for controlling or minimising pollution they are allegedly causing.
Earlier, a core committee set up by the NGT to inspect areas in Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, where coal mines and thermal plants are operating, had submitted its interim report on the environment and the health of the people.
In a detailed report, the committee had submitted that heavy industrial activities in the region were a major source of pollution in the area and the ground water in the villages near Singrauli was contaminated with high fluoride and mercury concentration.
In 2015, the tribunal had constituted a core committee for monitoring of potential hazards of industrial development in Singrauli area and five sub committees for quantification of industrial pollution and impact assessment of water, air, soil and health in and around Singrauli.
It had also directed that expenditure in conducting the inspection, survey and studies would be met by the respective state governments for the region and they may be permitted to recover it from industrial units, thermal power and coal mines.
( Source – PTI )