Skip to main content

Cancel illegal Environmental Clearance to all projects across India

In a communique, Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai and Trupti Shah of the Paryavaran Sukaksha Samiti, Vadodara, and Ziya Pathan of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, have said that the latest National Green Tribunal (NGT), Western Zone Bench, Pune, order striking down Environment Clearance procedure adopted during 1998-2003 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India for granting the “Ex-Post-Facto Environmental Clearances” to defaulting industries should lead to closing down of many known industries of Gujarat and across country that started production without prior environment clearance. Text:

As per circular dated 13 March 2003 of then Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) there were 213 such defaulting industries. We still have to find out the names and number of such defaulting industries that operated as on 5 November 1998 while the MoEF of the day claimed that they learnt about the defaulting industries starting their production without prior ‘Environment Clearance’.
Originally, the PIL Special Civil Application No.17417 of 2003 was before the Hon’ble High Court of Gujarat. The Hon’ble Division Bench of Gujarat High Court transferred the Special Civil Application No. 17417 of 2003 to the National Green Tribunal, Western Zone Bench, Pune by order dated 21 April 2015. The NGT registered this case as Application No. 66 (THC) of 2015 (WZ) under Section 14(1) and 18(1) of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010.
The (1) United Phosphorous Ltd, Unit No. II, Plot No. 3405, 3406, GIDC, Ankleshwar, Dist. Bharuch, (2) Unique Chemicals, Plot No. 5, Phase IV, GIDC, Panoli, Dist: Bharuch, (3) Darshak Pvt. Ltd. Village : Panelav, Tal: Halol, Dist: Panchmahal (Now known As Alembic Chemical Ltd.), (4) Nirayu Pvt. Ltd. Village : Panelav, Tal: Halol, Dist: Panchmahal, (Now known as Alembic Chemical Ltd.) and such 23 companies of Gujarat who have actually started their project and production after 1994, without the requirement of submitting E.I.A., facing public hearing and thereafter, going for the environment clearance. After having worked with their project without necessary clearance, they came up with E.I.A. and public hearing in 2002. During the environment public hearing on the E.I.A. of the said companies, the question was raised as to how the companies could start their operations without necessary clearance and what is the purpose of post-facto hearing. Its legality and validity had been challenged.
On the basis of above facts and legal background, the following issues were raised before the National Green Tribunal.Whether the public hearing on E.I.A. of the proposed new project for clearance from MoEF could be conducted after starting the industry without necessary clearance?
Whether such an industry, which admittedly operates without any clearance, could be permitted to operate as per the environmental laws and specifically Environment Protection Act and rules 1986?
What action should be taken against such erring industries by the Central & State Governments and the GPCB as per law?
An industry, which commences its work production without the clearance, is existing unlawfully and invades the ecology contrary to the law by causing destruction/damage to the same including the damage to the people’s health. Hence, should they be compelled to compensate the people of the area? Should they be forced to restore ecological balance at their own cost?
An industry which openly comes unprepared to face the public hearing on E.I.A. fails to answer the relevant questions and openly admitted to have started the working without the clearance be put to heavy costs payable to the public and Voluntary Organisation whose time and efforts are wasted by such industries?
Should the GPCB (Gujarat Pollution Control Board) and MoEF & CC (Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change) be directed to check and screen the E.I.A. themselves with the help of experts before placing the same for public hearing?
Should the GPCB and MoEF & CC be directed to take necessary action against those officials who have failed in checking the commencement of the industries without necessary clearance?
Should the member of public, N.G.Os be permitted to be involved from the stage one of preparations of E.I.A. by the industry to ensure its fairness and trust worthiness?
The NGT (Justice V.R. Kingaonkar and Dr. Ajay A. Deshpande) clearly stated in their order dated 8 January 2016 that “4. […] The Circular dated 14.5.2002, issued by the MoEF, extends time limit for obtaining ‘ex-post facto’ ECs, so that defaulting units could avail such last and final opportunity. The Circular does not show by which provisions, the power is provided in the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, to allow ‘ex-post facto’ EC. This Circular itself is void, ab-initio and ought to be struck down. Therefore, we have no hesitation in holding that ‘ex-post facto’ process of obtaining ECs by the Respondent Nos. 6 to 9, was just a farce, stage managed, wrong and impermissible under the Law and suffered from illegality, which is incurable in any manner.”
The NGT further in its order gave clear direction that “7. In the result, we are of the opinion that the Application must succeed on all counts. We, therefore, direct as follows:The Circular dated 14.5.2002 is illegal, void and inoperative and the MoEF, shall immediately clarify legal position to the concern Authorities, within one month hereafter and shall not take any further action on basis of aforementioned Circular.
The Respondent Nos. 1 to 5, shall not grant any consent/permission to run any industrial activity, covered under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, which requires permission as per the EIA Notification dated 14th September, 2006, without going through the required steps like, screening, scoping, public hearing and decision.
The Respondent Nos. 1 to 5, shall revoke ECs dated- 17.7.2003, dated 23.12.2002 and dated 14.5.2003, respectively issued to the Respondent Nos. 6 to 9, within period of one month hereafter.
The Respondent Nos. 6 to 9 shall close-down industrial activities, which are being operated without valid EC and consent to operate immediately, four (4) weeks, inasmuch as they are being operated without any legal permission/consent and concept of ‘ex-post facto’ sanction or ‘ex-post facto’ hearing.
The Respondent Nos. 6 to 9 shall pay Rs. 10 Lakhs each for causing environmental degradation, which amount shall be deposited, as provided in Rule 37 of the NGT (Practices & Procedure) Rules, 2011.
The Respondent Nos. 6 to 9 shall pay Rs.10,000/- each to the Applicants as litigation costs.
The amount deposited by the Respondent Nos. 6 to 9, shall be utilized for restoration of environment and if any reminder available for plantation purpose in and around the Ankleshwar Industrial area.
In case, the Respondent Nos. 6 to 9 will not deposit amount, as stated above, the concern Collector of the District, shall take steps to confiscate the industries and goods, stock and barrel and may sale the same for recovery of amount, as if it is dues under the Gujarat Land Revenue Code.”
This closure order will be immediately operative for the following:
(1) United Phosphorous Ltd, Unit No. II, Plot No. 3405, 3406, GIDC, Ankleshwar, Dist. Bharuch, (2) Unique Chemicals, Plot No. 5, Phase IV, GIDC, Panoli, Dist: Bharuch, (3) Darshak Pvt. Ltd. Village : Panelav, Tal: Halol, Dist: Panchmahal (Now known as Alembic Chemical Ltd.), (4) Nirayu Pvt. Ltd. Village : Panelav, Tal: Halol, Dist: Panchmahal, (Now known as Alembic Chemical Ltd.)
We will be writing letter to MoEF & CC that now the “Circular” which talks about the “Ex-Post-Facto Environmental Clearances” is struck down and declared by the NGT as ab-initio-void, MoEF & CC should cancel the “Environment Clarence” of all the project and companies across India which were granted Environment Clarence under this circular and MoEF & CC should close down all such projects and companies. MoEF & CC should also assess the environmental damage done by all such projects and companies and recover the total cost for remedial measures.

Comments

TRENDING

Sorry state of Indian academics: why was I thrown out of Delhi varsity interview room?

By Dr. Abhay Kumar*  The interview for the post of political science (Guest) was scheduled on Saturday afternoon, September 10, 2022. Given my previous experience, I was not willing to appear for it. But friends persuaded me to go and fight for our rights. I reached the college well before the time. When my turn came and I entered the room. The first question was asked about my experience. I said that I had taught for four semesters at NCWEB. I mentioned that I had taught ”Comparative politics”, “International Relations”, “Comparative Political Thoughts” and “Indian Government and Politics”. I said that as a teacher I had taught all the articles listed in the syllabus of the same Delhi University and the expert could ask anything about any reading or ideas. Friends, the first question asked by a female member, perhaps she is the principal of the college if I am not wrong, to give the full form of NCWEB! The second question asked by a male expert, perhaps he is the political science dep

Musician and follower of Dr Ambedkar? A top voilinist has this rare combination!

Some time back, a human rights defender, Vidya Bhushan Rawat, who frequently writes for Counterview, forwarded to me a video interview with Guru Prabhakar Dhakade, calling him one of India's well known violinists.  Dhakade is based in Nagpur and has devoted his life for the Hindustani classical music. A number of his disciples have now been part of Hindi cinema world in Mumbai, says Rawat. He has performed live in various parts of the country as well as abroad. What however attracted me was Dhakade's assertions in video about Dr BR Ambedkar, India's undisputed Dalit icon. Recorded several years back at his residence and music school in Nagpur, Dhakade not only speaks candidly about issues he faced, but that he is a believer in Dr Ambedkar's philosophy. It is in this context that Dhakade narrates his problems, even as stating that he is determined to achieve his goal. A violinist and a follower of Ambedkar? This was new to me. Rarely do musicians are found to take a

Tokens, symbols or incipient feminists? : First generation women sociologists in India

By IMPRI Team  The online event on the theme ‘Tokens, Symbols or Incipient Feminists? : The first Generation of Women Sociologists in India’ was held as an initiative of Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi under the #WebPolicyTalk series of The State of Gender Equality – #GenderGaps. Inaugurating the session, Zubiya Moin welcomed the speaker and participants to the program, followed by an introduction to the eminent panelists. Commencing the program, Prof Vibhuti Patel made her opening remarks welcoming Prof Kamla Ganesh, Feminist Sociologists and then greeted Prof Ratna Naidu and the editors of book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’, Dr Gita Chadha and Dr. Joseph M.T. along with Prof Arvinder Ansari and also welcomed all participants. She set up the stage by making us familiar with women sociologists and their works. Dr Gita Chadha, Editor of the book ‘Reimaging Sociology in India: Feminist Perspective’ After th

Omission of duty by BSF and police: Hindu forcefully kidnapped, taken to Bangladesh

Kirity Roy, Secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), & National Convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI) writes to the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission: *** I am writing this to focus on the life and situation of the poor and marginalized villagers living alongside the Indo-Bangladesh border of West Bengal. Through the several complaints we made throughout the years to your good office, it is now evident that the people of this border are living in an acute crisis, not only from a financial perspective but also in terrible distress. The people of the border are devoid of their basic rights and are subjected to immense torture, harassment and restrictions mostly enacted by the Border Security Force personnel, who are supposed to be posted at the international borders with intentions to protect the Indian citizenry. However, on the contrary, incidents of victimizing Indian citizens are being witnessed at large by the BSF. 130 Bhot

Emerging dimensions of India’s foreign policy in the context of global politics

By IMPRI Team  The three-day course took place recently, providing participants with an understanding of the development of Indian foreign policy, the complexity of geopolitics, and its flexibility to adjust to and even shape global outcomes. Many distinguished academics, senior scholars, former Indian diplomats, and journalists who are skilled observers and commentators of India’s foreign policy will serve as instructors for this course. Day 1 The three-day immersive online certificate training on “Emerging Dimensions of India’s Foreign Policy and Global Politics”, an initiative by the Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS) at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), began on July 14th, 2022 at 5:00 PM (IST) on Zoom platform. Dr Souravie Ghimiray served as the emcee throughout the 3 days of the event and welcomed the distinguished speakers of Day 1. The esteemed panel on Day 1 consisted of, Dr Soumita Basu, Associate Professor, Department of Intern

Demographic parameters of India@75: resource allocation, political representation

By IMPRI Team  As per UN Population Prospects 2022, India is going to be the most populous country in the world. In this regard, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi with #IMPRI Center for Human Dignity and Development (CHDD) , organized a panel discussion, #WebPolicyTalk, as part of the series The State of Population Development- #PopulationAnd Development on India@75: Most Populous Country? The moderator of the event was Mr Devender Singh, Global Studies Programme, University of Freiburg and a Visiting Senior Fellow at IMPRI. The panellists for the event were Prof P.M Kulkarni, Demographer, Retired Professor of Population Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) , New Delhi; Dr U.V Somayajulu, Co-Founder, CEO and Executive Director, Sigma Research and Consulting ; Dr Sonia George, General Secretary, Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), Kerala; Prof K.S James, Director and Senior Professor, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), Mumbai. Th

Tamil Nadu govt claiming to reform Hindu religion, temples. People deserve better

By NS Venkataraman  For the last several decades, there have been hate campaign against Hinduism in Tamil Nadu in a subtle or not so subtle manner. Initially, it was a hate campaign against brahmins and the brahmins were abused, insulted and physically attacked. Fearing such conditions, many brahmin families left Tamil Nadu to settle down in other states in India or have gone abroad. Now, the brahmin population in Tamil Nadu is at microscopic level, for which these hate campaigners against brahmins were responsible. Later on, emboldened by the scenario of scared brahmin families not resisting and running away, the hate campaigners started focusing on Hindus. For some years, when M.G.Ramachandran and Jayalalitha were the chief ministers of the state, the hate Hindu campaigners were not much heard, as both these chief ministers were staunch believers in Hindu philosophy and have been offering prayers in temples in full public view. However, in the last eighteen months in

Bhagawat Gita shows the way for the attitude to life and desirable goal of life

By NS Venkataraman*  When a mother delivers a human body, this body has no identity. Then, parents, relatives, friends consult each other and discuss the alternate appropriate names and arrive at a suitable name for this human body and this body is known and identified by this name. This human body, which steadily grow just like animals, plants and others and after experiencing the pleasures and pains of worldly life alternately for several years, perish one day, for the body to be burnt or buried. This body, bearing a name as it’s identity, comes in to the world and goes away from the world and the name that is the identity for the body also goes away along with the body. This is the scenario for several thousands of years that have gone by. The question: One question that does not seem to be still “convincingly explained” in a way that will appeal to the brain in the human body, is as to whether this human body only consists of flesh, bone and blood with well

Implementing misleading govt order to pollute Hyderabad's 100 year old reservoirs

Senior activists* represent to the Telangana Governor on GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Government of Telangana: ‘...restrictions imposed under para 3 of said GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996 are removed...’: *** Ref: GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996: ‘To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of the lakes upto 10kms from full tank level as per list in Annexure-I...’ We come to your office with grievance that GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by Government of Telangana not only contains false information issued ‘By Order and in the name of the Governor of Telangana’ , without any scientific or expert reports, but also that implementation of the said GO is detrimental and can be catastrophic to the Hyderabad city as two 100 year old reservoirs Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar were constructed as dams on river Moosa and river Esa, with the first and

Tattoos and intimidating gestures can't always win cricket matches for India

By Sudhansu R Das  Team India waited with baited breath for the outcome of the Pakistan vs Afghanistan match. Speculation was on about India’s return to the game if Pakistan loses to Afghanistan until Pakistan’s tailender, Naseem hit two massive sixes to win the match for Pakistan. Unfortunately, Afghanistan lost the match after being in a strong position till the last over of the game; two full touch balls in the final over turned the match into Pakistan side. The Afghanistan team would never forget this blunder and shock for a long time. India’s team management should introspect and take tough decision keeping in view of the tough match situation in the world cup matches. India lost two crucial matches in the Asia Cup. It could not defend a big total of 176 against Pakistan due to mediocre bowling attack, sloppy fielding and unimaginative captainship. It failed against Sri Lanka in similar fashion; it could not defend another respectable T 20 total of 171 runs. It was a pat