National Green Tribunal Southern Zone (NGT SZ) in Chennai is insistent that Hatsun Agro Products Limited should pay environmental damage compensation charges for the Ammonia gas leak accident reported at their Andhra Pradesh plant in August.
NGT panel, formed to study the damage caused, said that maintenance defects caused accidents and emergency protocols were not followed. Also, workers were allowed to continue operation after arresting leaks temporarily.
The company paid compensations of Rs 2-4 lakh to all the 14 female workers who were affected.
Referring to the local pollution control board’s report which said that ammonia concentration in air was well within the standard limit, NGT panel recommended a zero penalty. Notably, the unit was shut when air quality readings were taken.
Panel also said that they did not notice any visible damages to the environment or industry as gas did not spread to the outer area.
“We cannot agree with that submission in the report…environment doesn’t mean outside the premises. Any damage to the environment inside the premises in the industry will also have to be taken into account while assessing environmental compensation,” said the tribunal during the November 4 hearing.
Hatsun has been directed to submit its response before the next hearing on December 22.