There cannot be a complete ban on the use of charcoal as fuel by the industries, the Environment Ministry has told the National Green Tribunal. The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) told a bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim that no fresh study was necessary in view of the study conducted by a Tamil Nadu based institute. “During proceeding in this case, report was called for from MoEF and in the subsequent proceedings, it has taken a stand that no fresh study was necessary in view of the study … MoEF relies on that report to contend that there cannot be total ban on use of charcoal as fuel/raw material in the industry,” the bench said.
During the proceedings, the counsel for the applicant asked the bench to consider the suggestion that requisite safeguards should be provided even in case charcoal is used as fuel in the industry. The matter is fixed for next hearing on October 9. Earlier, the tribunal had directed the MoEF to to conduct a study to ascertain whether the use of charcoal as fuel in the industries had any adverse impact on the environment. It had asked the ministry to examine the process involved in production of charcoal and submit a report to the tribunal. The Indian Institute of Sustainable Development had filed a plea alleging that trees were being indiscriminately cut for converting them into charcoal.
The NGO had also sought a ban on the use of charcoal as fuel or raw material in industries across the country. Noting that the indiscriminate and illegal felling of trees would lead to environmental disaster, NGT had earlier imposed a ban on the cutting of trees without clearance from appropriate authorities. “There shall be an order of injunction against companies/ authorities from illegally cutting trees in the forest areas in the whole of country to be used for charcoal without obtaining environmental/forest clearance or permission from appropriate authorities,” the bench had said.