CUTTACK: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set November 30 as deadline for Bajarangbali women’s self-help group to cough up Rs 1.87 crore compensation for operating a take home ration (THR) chhatua plant in Golanthara of Ganjam district without proper pollution control measures.
NGT’s East Zone Bench in Kolkata has directed the Odisha Pollution Control Board (OPCB) to file a suit for recovery of the environmental compensation as per due process of law if the SHG fails to pay the amount.
A Bench comprising Justice B.Amit Sthalekar (judicial member) and Justice Saibal Dasgupta (expert member) further directed the District Magistrate of Ganjam to take steps forthwith for closure of the THR chhatua plant and ensure cancellation of its licence in case the order is not complied with.
The Tribunal issued the direction while disposing of a complaint filed by Natabar Sahu, a resident of Golanthara on October 26. Advocate Biranchi Narayan Mahapatra appeared on the petitioner’s behalf.
The bench further expected the District Magistrate as well as OPCB to file affidavit of compliance with the NGT Registry by December 10.
In pursuance of the NGT’s earlier order the OPCB after an inquiry had reported that the plant was operating sans ‘Consent to Operate’ since 2011.
The Tribunal directed the SHG to pay the environmental compensation on the basis of OPCB’s assessment of the damage caused to the environment due to the operation of the chhatua plant without proper pollution control measures.
As per the OPCB report the unit was producing over 42 tonne of chhatua and other products every month and supplying them to anganwadi centres at Rengeilunda block and Gopalpur NAC of Ganjam district.
The production involved manual cleaning of wheat, bengal nut and groundnut and removal of groundnut outer shells, manual sieving, hand picking of impurities and winnowing. In the process over 250 kg of firewood was used daily for roasting of wheat, bengal nut and groundnut for 15 days in a month, the OPCB report said.