Panipat refinery deposits ₹17-crore penalty with CPCB
The Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has deposited a penalty of Rs 17.31 crore imposed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for violation of environmental norms by its Panipat refinery which was found spreading pollution in the nearby villages.
The IOCL was forced to deposit the penalty after the Supreme Court dismissed its plea challenging the NGT order on July 5. The apex court also gave it 15 days to deposit the money with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) as directed by the NGT.
The order also mentioned that the appellant was free to raise the objections before the NGT.
Earlier this month, the NGT had also rejected IOCL’s review petition against the penalty recommended by a team comprising officials of Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB), National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) which assessed the damage caused by the refinery to human health and groundwater.
Talking to Hindustan Times, SK Tripathi, general manager (corporate communications), IOCL said, “Soon after the supreme court orders, we deposited the money with the CPCB.”
The Rs 17.31 crore penalty was imposed as interim compensation for restoration of environment, subject to further orders, following assessment report of the HSPCB. The IOCL refinery is likely to face more such penalties in future as CGWB and NEERI have already conducted a survey to assess the damage to human health and ground water caused by the refinery and likely to submit a final assessment report to the HSPCB.
HSPCB member secretary S Narayanan has confirmed that the IOCL has deposited the penalty to the CPCB and the money will be spent for restoration of environment in that area.
Notably, residents of villages in the vicinity of the Panipat refinery, led by Singhpura Sithna village sarpanch Satpal Singh, had taken up the issue with the NGT last year, alleging that the refinery is polluting the air and water in the area.
In November last year, the NGT had constituted a joint team comprising representatives of the CPCB, HSPCB and Panipat deputy commissioner (DC) for inspection.