Plea in NGT to ban dumping of fly ash in water bodies of Madhya Pradesh's Singrauli

New Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) A plea seeking directions to restrain thermal power plants in Madhya Pradesh's Singrauli and Uttar Pradesh's Sonebhadra from dumping fly ash, toxic residue and industrial waste in the Rihand reservoir and other water bodies was filed in the National Green Tribunal on Thursday.

The plea filed by advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey referred to an incident on October 6, 2019, in which the ash dyke of NTPC Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station in Singrauli was breached due to the 'negligent act' of the power project and more than 35 lakh metric tonnes of fly ash got into the Govind Vallabh Pant Sagar 'Rihand Reservoir'.

The reservoir is the only source of potable water for the people of Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts. The reservoir's water was contaminated, making it unfit for drinking, it said.

'Due to the breach, fly ash destroyed agricultural land and many cattle have also gone missing. That due to the collapse of ash dyke, as per the primary finding of Pollution Control Board, there has been huge loss to the environment and more than 35 lakh metric ton fly ash stored has been deposited in the Rihand Reservoir through the 'Naala'.

'The damage has been caused to the environment in various contexts viz ground water damage, damage of standing crops and the agricultural land have become unfertile. The mercury is in the air, water and soil of the Singrauli area is more than the prescribed limit. The adverse impact of the pollution is visible in the blood, hair, nails, legs, hands and body of the people living there,' the plea said.

The petition alleged that the power plants have not stopped their operations and are generating ash and toxic waste in the Rihand reservoir.

'Despite the specific directions of this tribunal, the respondents (power plants) did not take any preventive measures and it has become a routine for the industries which is causing serious damage to the environment, local people, cattle, fields, existing crops and water bodies,' the plea said.

The petition was earlier filed in the Supreme Court which on December 18, 2019, granted liberty to the petitioner to approach the tribunal.

The plea has also sought directions to Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh governments to take necessary and immediate steps regarding safety of the residents of Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts and to provide safe drinking water to the locals affected by the discharge of fly ash, bottom ash, toxic residue, industrial waste and others. PTI PKS PKS NSD NSD

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