NGT junks review plea of pharma cos on payment of fine for causing pollution in Telangana

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New Delhi, Jul 13 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal Tuesday refused to entertain a plea seeking to review its order directing the Telangana Pollution Control Board (PCB) to recover Rs 1.55 crore penalty from pharmaceutical companies for causing pollution in the state.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel declined the contention of the pharma companies that they should be heard by the Tribunal as per principles of natural justice.

“On the face of it, the prayer for hearing the applicant to comply with natural justice may appear attractive but on due examination, this plea is a farce. “Since the State PCB has exercised its jurisdiction, claiming to have duly complied with natural justice and such order is statutorily appealable under Section 16 of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, we do not find it necessary to grant hearing to the applicants instead of granting hearing in appeal, if filed,” the bench said.

The NGT said there can be no objection to the direction to the pollution control board to take remedial action and its order does not require any review as no hearing is necessary for requiring the PCB to perform its duty when even according to PCB violations are taking place. “Thus, we do not find any ground to review the order dated January 15, 2021,” the bench said.

The NGT in its January 15 order had asked the state PCB to recover the assessed compensation and take coercive measures for default in payment, including closure till compliance is made.

The NGT had passed the order after a committee recommended to impose environmental compensation for one year for all pharma formulation industries and six months to Shri Kartikeya Pharma which is engaged in Ayurvedic Ashwagandha extraction, as the pollution load is less.

'In view of the fact that the industrial area in question is a polluted area and the industries in question are ''red category'' industries, strict vigilance is required to be maintained for upholding the environmental norms,' the bench had said.

The green panel had asked Telangana state pollution control board to enforce the principle of ''Polluter Pays'' in respect of the units which have been found to be violating the environmental norms.

The tribunal's direction had come on a plea filed by advocate Sravan Kumar alleging pollution caused by the pharmaceutical companies at TSIIC SEZ in Jadcherla of Mahabubnagar district. PTI PKS RKS RKS

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