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Air pollution: NGT issues show cause notice to Rathi Steels

PTI | New Delhi |

The National Green Tribunal has issued notice to the Rathi Steel and Power Ltd’s plant at Ghaziabad, asking why environment compensation be not imposed on it for causing air pollution and extracting ground water without permission.

Relying on a report placed by central and UP pollution control boards, the green panel asked why appropriate action be not taken against the steel unit for releasing particulate matter 10 which had resulted in degradation of ambient air.

A bench headed by acting Chairperson Justice U D Salvi noted that an inspection team has found that Rathi Steel has been extracting water through three borewells with submersible pumps of 20 HP capacity for industrial and domestic use without permission.

“It is further revealed that Rathi Steel has moved an application dated July 11, 2017 for permission to extract ground water from Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) and the same is pending for approval.

“We, therefore, issue notice to Rathi Steel why they should not be saddled with commensurate environmental compensation in respect of the water extracted by them from the said borewells without authorisation till date,” the bench, also comprising expert member Nagin Nanda, said.

The green panel directed CGWA to dispose of the pending application of Rathi Steel in accordance with law within three weeks.

It also asked the state pollution control board to dispose of the application for grant of consent to operate lying with it in accordance with law within three weeks.

The NGT also issued notices to the Delhi and Uttarakhand governments to show cause why they have not given answers to queries pointed by the tribunal with regard to management of bio-medical hazardous wastes.

The matter will be heard on March 5.

The tribunal had last year imposed an environmental compensation of Rs 20 lakh, to be paid in two equal instalments on the steel unit and asked it to deposit the amount with the state pollution control board.

It had also ordered inspection of the unit by Central Pollution Control Board and UP Pollution Control Board and asked it to submit analysis report of the effluents and emissions from the industrial unit.

NGT’s direction came on a plea by Ghaziabad resident Rajiv Narayan, who had alleged that rapid development of industries has resulted in acute air and water pollution which is causing severe health problems to city’s dwellers.