The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has upheld the decision of a nine-member committee on compensation for 20 people who fell ill and next of kin of six people who died after a gas leak in an industrial area in Surat last January.
The leakage happened from a tanker belonging to Hikal Limited from Maharashtra, which was carrying toxic chemicals that were being unscientifically disposed into a drain to avoid the cost of scientific disposal, the NGT order said.
In January last year, the NGT took suo moto cognisance of the issue and constituted the panel — head by former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice B.C. Patel — to visit the site, interact with stakeholders and give a report to the tribunal.
The order said that the principal question for consideration is whether the report of the committee is to be accepted. “We do not find any objection to the said report being accepted particularly when the main violators have not even chosen to question it,” the NGT order read.
“In the present case, laid down norms have been breached by the entities in question. Thus, Hikal, Sangam and other units, including Transporter have violated the norms,” it added.
The tribunal said that the committee has “rightly recommended” the compensation. “The heirs of the deceased are entitled to compensation at least ₹20 lakh in respect of each death and ₹10 lakh to each of those who fell sick,” the tribunal said.
The NGT said that all pending proceedings should be finalised speedily, preferably within six months.