The National Green Tribunal today slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh on the Railways for failing to submit information about the capacity of the Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Tughlakabad here where a chemical spill had occured last year. A bench headed by acting Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim observed that even after the passage of over a year since the incident that had caused a gas leak, the Railways has not yet given the information and complied with its order. Around 480 girl students of the Rani Jhansi School and Government Girls Senior Secondary School, located near the container depot in south Delhi, were hospitalised on May 6 last year after toxic fumes spread in the surrounding areas due to the leakage.
Most students, who had complained of irritation in the eyes and breathlessness, were discharged after a few hours but a few had to be kept under observation for a longer time. Today’s order came after advocate Om Prakash, appearing for the PSU behemoth, said the Northern Railway has received comments from the Container Corporation yesterday and sought a week’s time to submit the report, which the tribunal refused.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand informed the bench that a similar matter was pending in Delhi High Court and a probe was being conducted by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate. The NGT however said,”we have taken note of High Court observation but its jurisdiction has no bearing on the jurisdiction of tribunal pertaining to environmental issues. “Though we permit filing of the final report of SDM, we intend to proceed independently from the point of view of environment in the wake of likely threat of recurrence of the event, transportation of hazardous material and potential of such incidents,” it said.
Advocate Kush Sharma, appearing for the Delhi Development Authority, said the land does not belong to it. During the hearing, advocate I G Kapila, who has been appointed the amicus curiae in the case, told the bench that Central Pollution Control Board has not put out guidelines on how to handle hazardous chemicals at the depot.