The National Green Tribunal has directed the state government to issue notices to thermal power stations and coal companies in the energy capital of India — Sonbhadra (Uttar Pradesh) and Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh) — directing them to submit status reports on their dump yards on July 6.
Principal bench of the tribunal in New Delhi issued the directions while admitting a petition alleging ‘mismanagement of the dump yards meant for fly ash and coal overburden’ and high pollution levels in the region that was adversely affecting the health and life of the residents.
The petition was filed by social activist Pankaj Mishra.
Justice UD Salvi, judicial member and Dr DK Agrawal, expert member issued the directions on May 19, however, the copy of the order was made available on Thursday.
The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July 6.
According to the applicant, regardless of safety measures prescribed under the environmental consent and the consent to operate, the thermal power station and collieries were dumping the fly ash and coal overburden, respectively, and causing massive environmental pollution, which was detrimental to common man.
Hearing the plea, the NGT directed the thermal power stations and coal companies in the area to manage their dump yards as per the terms and conditions prescribed in the grant of environment clearance and consent to operate, and to take all such measures for checking the environment pollution.
In his petition, applicant also referred to the case filed by advocate Ashwani Dubey with the NGT, regarding the ‘pollution in Rihand reservoir caused by discharge of fly ash and other effluents from nearby thermal power plants and other polluting industries.’
According to the petitioner, these industries, in utter violation of law, were storing and dumping the fly ash in open areas much beyond the prescribed limit and were disposing the same in Rihand, canals, ponds, etc due to which water had become polluted and unfit for human or animal consumption.
The petitioner alleged that the state functionaries had not taken any proper care towards the environmental issues in Singrauli area which is admittedly a highly polluted zone now.