Up to ₹5 crore green compensation imposed on thermal power plants

For not utilising 100% of the fly ash generated

Published - November 27, 2018 01:59 am IST - New Delhi

Noting that thermal power plants across the country have not prepared plans for 100% utilisation of fly ash, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed an environmental compensation ranging from ₹1 crore to ₹5 crore on them. The amount will be dependent on respective capacities of the thermal power plants.

Observing that the date fixed by the Environment Ministry for utilisation of fly ash was December 2017, a green Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said, “…liability in this regard is not only of the persons responsible for non-utilisation but also for generators of the fly ash. The generator cannot avoid responsibility for due disposal of any residue pollutants on account of its activity. The principle of extended producer’s liability is well-recognised as part of sustainable development.”

The Bench added that thermal power plants that have utilised 100% of fly ash need not pay the fine. The thermal power plants have been asked to deposit the compensation with the apex pollution control board by December 20.

A joint committee comprising representatives from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Central Pollution Control Board and IIT-Roorkee has been constituted by the tribunal to finalise action plans to “achieve 100% utilisation of fly ash.”

The committee has been directed to submit a report to the Ministry within two months assuming charge. The green panel also declined requests from 20 States that sought extension — up to five years — to complete the process.

“It may be noted that the last date for achieving 100% utilisation was December 31, 2017…States have sought extension of time by two to five years up to the year 2023, which is wholly uncalled for,” the Bench said in its order.

It also observed that a draft report circulated by a committee constituted by the NITI Aayog in October had noted that “existing notification needed a review and that it was not being fully implemented”.

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