PANIPAT: The NGT bench, after considering reports and recommendations of a joint committee of officials of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and the deputy commissioner of Panipat, directed Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) to deposit Rs 17.31 crore due to the air and water pollution caused by their refinery in Panipat and adjoining areas. While the next hearing is fixed for August 20, IOCL has been directed by the NGT to deposit the fine amount with the CPCB within a month.
The complaint against IOCL was filed by Satpal Singh, sarpanch of Singhpura Sithna gram panchayat, in 2018. He alleged that the refinery had done major environmental damage around Bohli, Dadlana and Sithana villages of the district.
The complaint mentions all the diseases effecting the local population which were caused by the air pollution. The carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide etc. emissions have also not been monitored since 2010 as the analyzers haven’t been functioning since 2010, alleges the complaint.
All the allegations were legitimised when a team constituted by a bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, NGT Chairperson, comprising representatives of the CPCB, HSPCB and the deputy commissioner of Panipat, visited the site and verified all the allegations in their report. The report said, “Ambient air quality was exceeding the norms. VOCs were resulting in irritation to eyes and odour was also observed by the joint committee during the inspection. Untreated effluent was found to be discharged in the green belt areas. Unit was not complying with the conditions of recycling and reusing treated water. Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) was not being operated efficiently and was not adequate. Untreated effluents were being stored in open storage lagoon without VOC recovery system. The groundwater samples were not complying with the norms.”
The decision was taken by a bench compromising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice SP Wangdi, Justice K Ramakrishnan and expert member Dr Nagin Nanda. The fine amount would be used to restore the environmental damages caused.