The National Green Tribunal (NGT) imposed a fine of Rs 25 lakh on four sugar mills in Uttar Pradesh for causing damage to the environment, contaminating ground water and releasing effluents leading to the death of animals and birds. The judgement was delivered on April 27, a copy of which was made available on Monday.
The tribunal bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar slapped a fine on the four units of Balrampur Chini Mills Ltd. situated in Balrampur, Gonda and Barabanki districts. The company runs ten sugar factories in Uttar Pradesh and has a crushing capacity of 76,500 tonnes per day.
The tribunal found from the official reports that some units never sought permission from the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) to extract water, discharge effluents and gases causing the death of animals and birds. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in a report, called these units “seriously polluting industries”, polluting the Rapti and Ghaghra rivers.
“We have no hesitation in arriving at the conclusion that these industries caused pollution, including illegal and unauthorised discharge of ammonia gas, which resulted in the death of animals and birds,” the bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar said in the judgement.
“Units are liable to pay environmental compensation of Rs 5 lakh each, for polluting the environment, committing breach of terms and conditions of consent orders, failing to install appropriate anti-pollution devices in the past and for causing environmental pollution particularly of river Rapti and river Ghaghra, groundwater and also for extracting groundwater without obtaining permission from CGWA,” the judgement stated.
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The NGT also imposed an additional fine of Rs 5 lakh on the Manakpur, Gona unit of the sugar industry for causing the death of animals and birds by release of ammonia gas and polluting the environment.
The tribunal directed a joint inspection team of the Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to conduct an inspection of all these industries and submit a detailed and comprehensive report to the tribunal within six weeks. Asking the UPPCB and CPCB to be more active and swift in action, the tribunal told the agencies to “exercise better control”, “conduct inspections more frequently” and take stringent action to prevent and control the pollution.