Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding the dumping of hazardous waste affecting groundwater in village Aloarakh, district Sangrur, Punjab, 02/01/2024

  • 02/01/2024

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of H. C. Arora Vs State of Punjab & Others dated 02/01/2024.

In original application 169/2021, issue raised was in respect of inaction of the state authorities to take remedial action against contamination of ground water in village Aloarakh, block Bhiwanigarh, district Sangrur.

The tribunal by order dated March 31, 2022 had disposed of the original application with certain directions and with a further direction to submit the report before the Registrar General of the NGT. On the basis of the report so submitted, the present application has been registered as it was noticed that direction issued by the NGT was not implemented.

On the issue of removal of the layer of soil laid over the hazardous waste dumped at the contaminated site, along with the previous report an order of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) dated November 24, 2023 was enclosed by which owner of the contaminated site was directed to remove the layer of soil for proper soil sampling and geophysical imaging by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur (NEERI) for remediation of the site.

A fresh report by PPCB was filed, December 31, 2023 which stated that "proposal for incurring 30 per cent cost out of total expenditure amounting Rs. 23,00,000 has been approved by Chairman, PPCB for bearing financial contribution to the tune of Rs. 6,90,000 by Punjab Pollution Control Board for lifting the soil from site under question".

Fresh report reflects the position of lifting of soil from the site in question and stage of geophysical survey by NEERI and it is stated that the the work for lifting the soil from site under question has commenced and by December 30, 2023 approximately 2.50,000 cubic feet of soil has been lifted from site and work for shifting the remaining soil and levelling of site will be completed in due course of time (12-15 days) as huge volume of soil is lying at site.  Counsel for PPCB has submitted that survey by NEERI will be completed by January 31, 2024.

Counsel for PPCB is not in a position to point out as to whether soil which is being lifted is also contaminated and reason requiring lifting of the soil from the site is required. In the circumstance of the case, the court directed notice to be issued to the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur (NEERI).

NGT directed PPCB to file a fresh report within a period of six weeks and listed the matter for February 26, 2024.