KOLLAM: The Southern Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday adjourned the case regarding alleged environmental pollution by KMML to September 26.
Counsel Babu Joseph Kuruvathazha, who appeared for petitioner Joy Kaitharath, general secretary of State Human Rights Protection Centre of Thrissur, submitted the minutes of the meeting convened by Labour Minister Shibu Baby John including company officials and the Pollution Control Board. Joy Kaitharath, his counsel and radiation experts were also present in the meet. The meeting on July 11 had agreed upon a seven-point agenda to address the environmental issues raised by the petitioner.
The Tribunal Bench, comprising its judicial member M Chockalingam and expert member R Nagendran asked the counsel of the company Anand K, a senior counsel in the High Court of Kerala, to respond to the petitioner’s cases.
When the senior counsel sought time to discuss with company officials, the court granted time till the next hearing on September 26.
The lawyers, representing the PCB, government and trade unions were present. Babu Joseph Kuruvathazha said that the issue of gas leak was not discussed in the court. Managing Director of KMML Michael Vetha Siromony told Express that the company was ready to follow the seven-point guidelines.
“Some of the suggestions such as removing the iron oxide sludge had already been started. We would also see the improvement of drinking water issues in the nearby areas. It is an ongoing process,” Michael Vetha Siromony said. Kerala Enviro Infrastructure Ltd has been entrusted with the task of removing the sludge from the factory. According to the MD, of the 3 lakh tonnes of sludge, 4,000 tonnes have already been shifted at a cost of `4,000 per tonne.
Joy Kaitharath had filed this case as a Public Interest Litigation in the Kerala High Court seeking to direct Kerala Government to constitute an expert team and to assess the level of radioactivity and the impact on public health and environment in Chavara block.