The National Green Tribunal has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and state pollution control boards to take action against 35 thermal power plants across the country that have failed to install online effluent and emission monitoring system, despite its earlier direction.
The decision was taken by a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar. The bench observed that the CPCB and its state counterparts had sufficient powers to shut down non-complying units.
"Law provides enough powers including power to direct closure and ensure closure of the defaulting industries. Let CPCB and all the state pollution control boards to take appropriate action in accordance with law," the bench stated.
The tribunal further ordered the state administrations to provide all assistance required to the state pollution control boards for ensuring implementation of their orders.
The thermal power stations that have been asked to respond include those located in Hasdeo, Raichur, Koradi, Satpura, Khaparkheda, Paras and Parli besides Kamal Sponge Steel And Power Ltd, Indo Rama Synthetics, Uttam Galva Steels, Aurobindo Agro Energy, Kaveri Gas Power Limited, NLC Ltd, Saheli Exports Pvt Ltd and a 16 MW gas-based thermal power project in Tripura.
• The NGT bench was hearing a plea that sought directions to these plants to comply with its order for installation of online effluent and emission monitoring systems.
• The plea claimed that directions were issued under Section 5 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 by the CPCB Chairman on 21 July 2015 to 318 thermal power plants located in various states and union territories for installation of these systems.
• However, no satisfactory response was received from 35 thermal power plants that according to plea have deliberately failed to respond the directions issued by the CPCB.
• The plea requested the tribunal to direct the thermal power stations to prepare a time- bound action plan for installation of Online Continuous Emission/Effluent Monitoring Systems and execution of such time bound plan of action.
• It also requested the body to impose appropriate penalties on them on the ground of Polluter Pay Principal on account of their non cooperation and inaction which has resulted in huge loss of health, soil, animal, crops and ground water.