New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has slapped a penalty of Rs 1 crore on the State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand and a common effluent treatment plant in the state’s Udham Singh Nagar district for damaging the environment and health of the people.Also Read - Air Pollution: Ahead of Diwali, These States Ban Use And Sale of Fireworks | Complete List Here

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel passed the order after perusing an inspection report filed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), which said the industries released polluted effluents that damaged crops and caused air pollution. Also Read - Uttarakhand Lockdown Extension News: Weekend Shutdown Announced in 4 Districts | Check Guidelines

“For the past failure…we assess the damage to the environment and the inhabitants to be Rs 1 crore. This amount be deposited by the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) and the State Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarakhand (SIDCUL) to the extent of 50 per cent each. Dispute of apportionment, if any, may be resolved separately. Also Read - Uttarakhand Lockdown News: After Kashipur, 48-Hour Total Shutdown in Rudrapur Corporation, Nearby Areas

“The amount may be deposited with the CPCB within one month. For any delay, interest at the rate of 12 per cent per month will accrue. Out of the amount deposited, the CPCB may pay a sum of Rs 1 Lakh as honorarium to the amicus curiae. The remaining amount may be spent on restoration of environment, as per norms and action plan,” the bench said.

The NGT also directed the state pollution control board to take appropriate legal action based on the findings in the inspection report, and said the action may also include “initiating prosecution and imposing penalty”.

The tribunal had earlier appointed senior advocate Raj Panjwani and advocate Meera Gopal to assist it on a complaint of the residents of Sitarganj industrial area, alleging discharge of untreated chemical effluents in drains by industries located in the vicinity.

Terming the situation as alarming, the bench had directed its registry to register the villagers’ letter as a petition and asked the Uttarakhand state pollution control board to inspect the industrial units around the village.

The NGT had issued notices to the Uttarakhand government, district magistrate of Udham Singh Nagar, state pollution control board, managing director of SIDCUL, and sought their responses.

The state pollution board was directed to identify the industries which were discharging untreated effluent and causing air and ground water pollution. It had also been asked to inform the tribunal on whether the industries were complying with the conditions of environment clearance.

The complainants had said the industrial units were spewing black soot which deposited dust on the village houses, especially in the morning and evening hours, due to which it was difficult for the residents to sit outside their houses or do any work.

“During rainy season, the effluent spread over the agriculture fields and even the tube wells of the village are having coloured water which is not fit for human or animal consumption,” the petition had said.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.