Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding periyar river pollution, Kerala, 21/01/2019
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Shibu Manuel, Secretary, Green Action Force Vs Govt. of India & Others dated 21/01/2019 regarding direction seeking for zero discharge of industrial sludge on the river Periyar and to clean Kuzhikandam Thodu, Panachithodu, Pallipuramchal and Unthithodu, which are small streams meeting the river Periyar. The case of the applicant is that Hindustan Insecticides Ltd., Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd. and M/s. Merchem Ltd. are operating their factories close to the river and dumping hazardous waste affecting the aquatic life and the inhabitants. There are also 247 chemical industries in the Eloor industrial belt, creating air pollution. The inhabitants are suffering from various diseases like cancer, congenital birth defects, bronchitis, asthama, allergic dermatitis, nervous disorders.
On 26.09.2018, it was noted that about 400 industrial units were discharging untreated effluents in the river Periyar and steps were required to be taken by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). On 14.11.2018, the stand of the SPCB was noted that remediation cost will be about Rs. 26 Crores which was to be shared in the ratio of 60:40 – 60% by the State Government and 40% by the Central Government.
DIRECTIONS OF NGT
NGT directs a CPCB supervised Committee to prepare an action plan for the remediation and in the first phase use the available funds, in a time bound manner. The remaining amount will be recovered by identifying the polluters and recovering the amount from them in appropriate proportion. The Committee would also be entitled to undertake incidental work, including extensive survey and remediation of the entire affected river bodies/stretches and submit a report. The interim report will also indicate the timelines of the action plan. If there are other affected areas and more funds are required, the Committee would be entitled to take up such work and additional plan may be prepared by preparing an extra budget.