Giaspura Gas Tragedy: Tribunal disposes of case, seeks fresh report on CETP from pollution board : The Tribune India

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Giaspura Gas Tragedy: Tribunal disposes of case, seeks fresh report on CETP from pollution board

Notes possibility of acidic effluent discharge into sewer not ruled out

Giaspura Gas Tragedy: Tribunal disposes of case, seeks fresh report on CETP from pollution board

Cops near the gas leak incident site in Giaspura. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Nitin Jain

Ludhiana, March 13

Almost 11 months after taking suo motu cognisance of the Giaspura gas leak tragedy, which had claimed 11 lives and had left four injured last year, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has finally disposed of the case while seeking fresh report on the common effluent treatment plant (CETP) in the area from the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB).

“The above two reports themselves contain the observation that possibility of discharge of acidic effluent into sewers at the time of accident is not ruled out,” noted the Principal Bench, led by chairperson Prakash Shrivastava and comprising judicial member Sudhir Agarwal and executive members Dr A Senthil and Dr Afroz Ahmad.

In its four-page order, a copy of which is with The Tribune, the NGT said: “Tribunal has also received a letter by one of the complainants, disclosing that a common treatment plant is at Phase II, Focal Point, here, which is run by JBR company, which brings effluent discharge from all electroplating factories across the state to its plant at Ludhiana and the treatment capacity of its CETP is 5,00,000 litres per day but the said project proponent has made agreement with the electroplating industries all over the state for over 10,00,000 litres per day and it throws about 5,00,000 litres untreated effluents into sewers. In the complaint, it has been expressed that since the pH was found less than two, therefore, it proves that there was a huge quantity of acid in the sewer. The letter has been kept in the seal cover in this original application.”

“Considering the above circumstances, we dispose of the original application directing the Member Secretary, Punjab PCB, to furnish a report before the Registrar General of the Tribunal disclosing installed capacity of the CETP run by JBR company and details of the agreements which have been entered into by the JBR firm with the unit for collection of their effluent discharge and also the correctness of the allegations that about 5,00,000 litres of effluent discharge collected by the proponent is thrown in the sewers. The PPCB Member Secretary will also submit the report explaining the issue relating to the pH being less and the quantity of acid being thrown in the sewers,” the Tribunal’s Principal Bench directed.

The NGT instructed the PPCB Member Secretary to furnish the desired report in two months. “If found necessary, the matter will be listed for consideration before the Tribunal,” it said, while disposing of the original application in the case.

The order was passed after the Centre’s joint panel, comprising senior functionaries of the Union Ministry

of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the IIT in Delhi, had submitted its fresh probe report before the NGT on March 4.

In a 58-page report, the joint Central panel, comprising MoEF&CC Deputy Inspector General of Forests (DIGF) Raja Ram Singh, CPCB Member Secretary Bharat Kumar Sharma and Delhi IIT Chemical Engineering Professor Sreedevi Upadhyayula, has found “faults” with the sewer lines at the houses of the victims without pinpointing any culprits of 11 lives lost in the tragedy.

Earlier, the NGT had on October 13 last “rejected” the report of the PPCB Chairman-led joint inquiry committee, while terming it “not convincing” and had ordered a fresh independent probe into the sudden release of high concentration of hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas from a roadside manhole in Giaspura on April 30 last, which had claimed 11 lives and had left four injured.

PPCB gave ‘clean chit’ to polluting industries

The eight-member fact-finding joint committee, headed by PPCB Chairman Adarsh Pal Vig, had concluded in its report, which had earlier been “rejected” by the NGT, that actual causes of the incident are “difficult” to establish, while giving a “clean chit” to the polluting industries on the ground that “no polluting industry was responsible for the incident”.

The PPCB had submitted the 397-page voluminous report to the NGT on October 11 last, after conducting the inquiry for over five months.

NGT took suo motu notice

Taking a suo motu notice of the incident, the NGT Principal Bench, headed by the then chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel and comprising then judicial member Sudhir Agarwal and executive member Dr A Senthil Vel, had on May 2 last ordered to constitute the panel to inquire and submit its report to the Tribunal on or before June 30.

Taking up the matter on October 13 last, the NGT Principal Bench, headed by Chairperson Prakash Shrivastava, and comprising judicial member Sudhir Agarwal and expert member A Senthil, had said the report had attributed the gas leak to the escape of gases from the sewer line, which “does not appear to be convincing”.

Fresh probe

The NGT had ordered a fresh probe, saying, “We are of the opinion that a fresh report by an independent committee is required to be obtained as the issue is serious wherein an incident of gas leak has caused death of 11 persons. The possibility of a repeat of such an incident cannot be ruled out, therefore, it is important to ascertain the real cause of the gas leak and to fix the responsibility.”

It had constituted a three-member committee, comprising MoEF&CC Joint Secretary, CPCB Member Secretary, and one professor to be nominated by the Director, IIT Delhi, having expertise in the field.

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#Environment #National Green Tribunal NGT #Pollution


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