All villagers around Panipat refinery to undergo health check-up by June 30
Following the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), health check-up of all residents of six villages located around the Indian Oil Corporation’s Panipat refinery will be conducted in the next six months to find out the impact on their health due to the pollution caused by the facility as alleged by the locals in their complaint to the agency.
The decision was taken at a meeting of officials from Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and district administration on Wednesday. The villages in question are: Singhpura, Sithana, Dadlana, Bohli, Bal-Jattan and Kutana.
The villagers had filed a complaint with the NGT in 2018, alleging that the emission and liquid discharge from the refinery was polluting the air and ground water in the area, which was affecting their health. The complaint was filed by Singhpura sarpanch Satpal Singh Sarpanch.
Taking note of the complaint, the NGT in 2018 formed a joint committee comprising the officials from the CPCB, HSPCB and district administration to find out the impact on human health and environment.
In its report, the inspection team highlighted that the issues being raised by the people were true to some extent. It cited a kutcha drain as a source of pollution, along with refinery that it found was discharging effluents in the forest.
In May 2019, on the recommendations of the first assessment report of the joint committee, the NGT directed the oil company to deposit ₹17.31 crore as an interim compensation to the CPCB for the restoration of environment and later in July last year, the tribunal again directed IOCL officials to deposit a sum of ₹25 crore as interim compensation for restoration of environment, subject to further orders.
Panipat chief medical officer Sant Lal Verma, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, said the directions have been issued for the health check-up of the villagers. “We will submit a report about the infrastructure and manpower required for the check-ups,” he said.
Officials from the state pollution control board said all the basic tests related to respiratory problems will be conducted by June 30, 2021.