The National Green Tribunal has directed the empowered core committee, set up to study the impact of pollution due to industrial activities in and around Gobind Vallabh Pant Sagar reservoir or the Rihand Sagar, to submit its final report within two weeks.
The principal bench of the NGT, New Delhi, has also ordered the panel to visit major thermal power plants and industrial giants before tabling its complete report.
Set up last year with a mandate to conduct surveys of all the industries (thermal power plants, coal mines, etc) around the Rihand Sagar, the expert committee has been directed “to visit the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project, Moher and Moher Coal Block, Essar MP Power Ltd, Mahan Aluminium Power Division and all mines of Northern Coal Fields Ltd, whichever of them falls in the critically polluted area.”
A three-member bench, including justice Swatanter Kumar, chairperson DK Agrawal and expert member Bikram Singh Sajwan issued the directions while hearing a case filed by advocate Ashwani Dubey on Wednesday.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for May 26.
Petitioner Ashwani Dubey, a Supreme Court lawyer, told Hindustan Times that the 15-member core committee under the chairmanship of Tapan Chakraborty, former director of Nagpur’s National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, has been directed to visit some industrial giants around Rihand Sagar and submit the final report within two weeks.
“The visit assumes importance as the NGT is likely to give its final verdict on May 26 after going through the final report,” he said.
The Rihand dam is built over river Rihand, a tributary of the Son, in UP’s Sonbhadra district. But its reservoir -Rihand Sagar- is located on the border of the two states -- MP and UP.
The reservoir, according to Ashwani Dubey, has been “polluted with discharge of fly ash and other effluents from nearby thermal power plants and other polluting industries.”
Around 500 villages around the reservoir in MP and UP have been affected due to the polluted waters from the reservoir, claims Dubey.
Last year the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) submitted a report to the NGT, saying that carcinogenic pollutants have been found in the air around Rihand Sagar.