NGT directs Kochi Municipal Corporation to pay Rs 100 cr environment damage compensation


NEW DELHI: The Nationwide Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Kochi Municipal Company to pay an environmental compensation of Rs 100 crore for the injury to the atmosphere due to its failure to deal with strong waste.

The bench comprising Chairperson Justice AK Goel, judicial member Justice Sudhir Agarwal and professional member was listening to a matter during which it had initiated suo-motu (by itself) proceedings on the premise of a media report on an environmental emergency precipitated because of a fireplace at a dump web site in Kochi.

“Proceedings have been initiated in this matter suo-motu in the light of captioned media report of serious environmental emergency caused due to fire at waste dump site in Kochi as a result of utter failure of the state authorities in performing their inalienable basic duties of providing pollution free environment,” the bench mentioned.

“According to media report, Kochi city was chocked on account of fire at waste dump site on March 2, 2023 which led to crisis situation. Warning was issued to the residents to stay indoors and asking the hospitals to prepare emergency admission of patients with respirator distress to deal with severe air pollution and its worrying public health fallout,” the bench mentioned.

“We are conscious that identical issue is being dealt with by the Kerala High
Court but we make it clear that this order is without prejudice to and subject to the said proceedings. We are also informed that identical issue is pending before the South Zone bench of the Tribunal. The South Zone Bench may accordingly, take into account this order before proceeding further in any pending matter,” the order learn.

The bench said that the inexperienced tribunal discovered failure of the authorities within the Kerala in following strong waste administration guidelines with regard to the location in query which had potential for injury to the general public well being and for such continued failure.

“The Tribunal levied compensation on polluter pays principle but the authorities neither complied with the norms as is acknowledged even now nor paid the compensation,” the bench famous.

Kerala and its authorities have been utter failure and have rampantly violated the statutory strong waste administration guidelines and orders of Supreme Courtroom.

The bench additional famous that the state and its authorities have additionally violated tribunal orders.

“No accountability for such serious failure has been fixed and no senior person has been held accountable so far. Except for giving future plans, no fixing of accountability is proposed even now which is matter of regret. No prosecution has been launched against the guilty for criminal offenses under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and also under relevant provisions of IPC,” the bench mentioned.

“Such attitude of State authorities is threat to rule of law. We hope the situation is remedied at the higher level in the State such as the DGP and the Chief Secretary to uphold the Constitution and the mandate of environmental law,” it mentioned.

“We award atmosphere compensation below part 15 of the NGT Act towards Kochi Municipal Company of Rs. 100 crores which can be deposited with the Chief Secretary, Kerala inside one month for essential remediation measures, together with coping with the general public well being problems with the victims, the bench mentioned, citing neglect of its duties by the company.

“Other than above, we direct the Chief Secretary, Kerala to repair accountability of involved officers for such gross failures and provoke motion below prison legislation in addition to by the use of departmental proceedings, following due course of and place the identical in public area inside two months ,” the NGT bench directed.

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