Chalk out plan to mitigate effects of oil leak, green tribunal tells centre
Even as it pulled up the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) for not making appreciable progress after submitting a preliminary report on the oil pipeline leak in North Chennai, the National Green Tribunal on Friday ordered the Union Petroleum Ministry to convene a meeting and chalk out a plan to mitigate the damage.
The southern bench of the tribunal noted that the actions of the TNPCB after issuing show-cause notices to the oil companies responsible for the leak, were not known.
Justice M Chockalingam, the judicial member, came down scathingly on the agency. He queried the TNPCB’s counsel and after finding the reply unsatisfactory, remarked: “They (TNPCB) have not cared to take further action… its very purpose has been defeated.”
Prof R Nagendran, the expert member, too, noted that the TNPCB had not moved forward since filing the preliminary report.
Therefore, the tribunal directed the petroleum ministry to convene a meeting of secretaries of various ministries, including the Environment and Forest, Industry, and Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, to chalk out a clear-cut plan to mitigate the damage.
The Bench also ordered the Union ministry to complete the process within two months and to file a reply. Meanwhile, it directed the TNPCB to file its reply explaining the steps taken by it as suggested by an IIT expert committee, on the next hearing.
Following the leak, a resident, V P Krishnamoorthy, took up the cudgels and approached the NGT seeking direction to the oil companies to shift the pipelines that were passing through densely populated areas of the region.
“The Union government must evolve an action plan to act in case of exigencies arising due to oil leaks and spills in the future,” he had prayed.