Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding discharge of effluents by Raghunathpur thermal power plant on agricultural lands, Purulia district, West Bengal, 10/04/2023

  • 10/04/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Tribunal on its own motion - regarding effluent discharge by the Raghunathpur Thermal Power Plant (T-WBHRC) Vs District Magistrate & Collector Purulia & Others dated 10/04/2023.

Proceedings in the matter were initiated suo motu vide order dated November 12, 2021 on receiving a reference from the West Bengal Human Rights Commission with reference to media report of July 9, 2021 in Bengali daily Newspaper 'Gana Shakti'. Media report was that effluents were being discharged by Raghunathpur Thermal Power Plant on agricultural lands in villages Ghutitora, Lachhiara, Valdubi, Asta, Pathuriadanga and Khairabad in District Purulia, West Bengal resulting in damage to agricultural fields which were covered by the fly ash.

The NGT, Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata said while some steps have been taken to prevent discharge of polluted water on lands, the same cannot be held to be adequate. The court was informed that a settling pond has been set up to prevent fly ash, but it was not clear where the excess fly ash/ water was being aken. It was also nopt clear how affected farmers have been compensated for the loss in not being able to cultivate the land for a long period, as noted in the joint committee report filed before the NGT.

The court said that these aspects should be addressed by a joint committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary, Environment, West Bengal with West Bengal Pollution Control Board, District Magistrate, Purulia, Central Pollution Control Board and Director, Agriculture, West Bengal as members.  

The joint committee has been directed to meet within two weeks and after interacting with the farmers and the project proponent should determine reasonable compensation for the farmers and verify effectiveness of preventive measures. Further, steps are required to utilise fly ash at the earliest, the court added.