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Overburden backfilling: National Green Tribunal directs cos to pay

The bench issued a direction for working out compensation for past violations and cost of remediation along with restoration plan prepared by a six-member expert committee.

Published: 09th December 2021 08:30 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th December 2021 08:30 AM   |  A+A-

National Green Tribunal.

National Green Tribunal. (File photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

CUTTACK: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday fixed the liability of serious lapses relating to backfilling of overburden generated in Talabira open cast coal mines in Sambalpur district on Hindalco Industries Limited and Raipur Energen Limited. The NGT ordered the companies to pay Rs 10 crore interim environmental compensation. 

A five-member special bench headed by chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “Having regard to the fact that overburden dumps were first created by Hindalco and dumping was done beyond the designated dump sites, primary liability is of Hindalco but once lease was taken over by REL, it remained under an obligation to comply with the EC conditions and to manage the overburden consistent with environmental norms and obligations.” 

The bench further stated, “We accordingly apportion the liability between Hindalco and REL in the ratio of 75:25 per cent. Compensation for past damage to environment due to violation and the cost of remediation have to be worked out.” 

While disposing of two separate complaints filed by Manbodh Biswal and Hemanta Rout in 2016, the bench said, “Pending further decision, a sum of Rs 7.5 crore may be deposited by Hindalco and Rs 2.5 crore by REL to meet the assessed compensation and cost of remediation. The amount may be deposited with the State Pollution Control Board, to be kept in a separate account to abide by the directions of the committee.”  

Advocate Sankar Prasad Pani argued on the petitioner’s behalf. The bench issued a direction for working out compensation for past violations and cost of remediation along with restoration plan prepared by a six-member expert committee.

The committee included Regional Officer Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Bhubaneswar, Regional Officer Central Pollution Control Board Kolkata, Indian School of Mines/IIT Dhanbad/Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research Dhanbad, State PCB and District Magistrate Sambalpur. The nodal agency will be Regional Officer of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change for coordination and compliance.



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