The Supreme Court has stayed the National Green Tribunal (NGT) order imposing a ₹ 20 crore penalty on four units of Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd in Uttar Pradesh for continuous violation of environmental laws.
A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari issued notices to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and others on an appeal filed by Dhampur Sugar Mills.
“Issue notice, returnable in six weeks. In the meanwhile there will be a stay of the order to the extent of payment of compensation of ₹ 5 crore which has been imposed against each unit and the costs of ₹ 10 lakh to be paid by Respondents No. 1 to 3 (Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd),” the bench said.
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The Supreme Court, in its October 8 order, also said no further steps shall be taken by the committee, formed by the National Green Tribunal to assess damage, for a period of six weeks.
The sugar manufacturing company had moved the Supreme Court against the National Green Tribunal order.
The tribunal, after perusing various inspection reports filed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB), said that there was damage caused to the environment for a considerable time.
The tribunal had imposed environmental compensation of ₹ 5 crore each on Dhampur Sugar Mills, District Sambhal; Dhampur Sugar Mills, District Bijnor; Dhampur Distillery Unit, District Bijnor and Dhampur Sugar Mills, Meerganj, District Bareilly, and directed them to pay the amount in 30 days from September 1, 2021.
The tribunal had also constituted a committee comprising members from CPCB (to be nominated by the Chairman), UPPCB and the District Magistrates concerned, to conduct a detailed study regarding the extent of damage caused to the environment.
The committee will also interact with the farmers and local inhabitants who may have suffered loss or damage because of pollution caused by the units, it said.
“We also impose a litigation cost of ₹ 10 lakh which shall be paid by Respondents No. 1 to 3 (Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd) to CPCB within a period of one month and the said amount will be utilised for the protection and preservation of environment,” the NGT had said in its order.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Adil Ansari seeking penal action against the units of Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd including the imposition of the appropriate environmental compensation for non-compliance of environmental norms/laws.