Thursday, June 1, 2023

Jharkhand High Court hears PUCL PIL on polluting units 


Jamshedpur, April 19: The hearing on the PIL filed by PUCL in Jharkhand High Court alleging Jharkhand government of setting up sponge iron companies in violation of environmental laws which was adversely affecting life of villagers was head by the double bench of the High Court on Tuesday.

The bench comprising High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar Mishra and Justice Anand Sen who were hearing the case listened to the State Government counsel reiterating that the matter should be referred to the  National Green Tribunal and also that whatever be the case State Pollution Control Board has to answer in this matter.

The counsel for the State Pollution Control Board remained absent in yesterday’s hearing. Affidavit was filed on behalf of the State Government. But no affidavit has been filed by the companies.

PUCL’s advocate Akhilesh Srivastava drew the attention of the Bench towards a report published in the newspaper in which according to the survey conducted by the said newspaper, about 20,000 people are suffering from pollution related diseases in that area. They have respiratory and lung related diseases and in some people these diseases are severe.

The PUCL counsel further said that on the road going from Chowka to Kandra (State Highway), a plume of black smoke is found and the road is not visible, people traveling through that road are facing this situation everyday. He alleged that the said companies were illegally extracting ground water through deep boring in violation of water reuse norms, causing unprecedented depletion of ground water and destroying soil fertility, dumping of solid and liquid wastes. The basic rights of clean air and life of the villagers have been violated for years in connivance with the State Government and the Pollution Control Board by air pollution including polluting the top surface of the land by making it unfit for agriculture.

The PUCL counsel requested the Court to form an independent committee and ask for an updated report on the pollution situation in the area so that the Court can pass necessary orders to get rid of the serious and fatal conditions caused by pollution. The Bench assured to issue some temporary guidelines after the next hearing.

It is to be known that PUCL, in its above petition, has accused the Jharkhand government of setting up sponge iron companies in blatant violation of environmental laws and making sponge iron in blatant violation of pollution standards and basic rights of life of the villagers along with their basic right to water.

The PIL demands that some of the companies  Siddhi Vinayak Metcom Ltd., Narsingh Ispat Ltd., Jai Mangala Sponge Iron Pvt. Ltd., Kohinoor Steel Pvt. Ltd., Juhi Industries Pvt. Ltd., Chandil Industries Pvt. Ltd., Divine Alloys & Power Ltd. and Emaar Alloys Pvt. Ltd.  should be closed immediately.

It is to be known that in the earlier hearing, the High Court took cognizance of this sensitive matter by rejecting the Advocate General’s argument of sending the case to the National Green Tribunal in view of the gross violation of human rights and the Government of India, the State Government, the State Pollution Control Board Issued notices against all the guilty companies.

It is to be known that the petitioner People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) has filed a complaint against the above 9 companies located in Chowka, Chandil and its surrounding area of about 2-3 sq. kms for setting up sponge iron plant in violation of environmental guidelines, providing water to the villagers.

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