NGT panel to probe pollution of Edayar paddy fields

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has appointed a four-member expert committee to ascertain the source of contamination of Edayattuchal and Chakkarachal paddy fields in Edayar.

The committee will include a senior officer from the regional office of the Central Pollution Control Board in Bengaluru, a senior officer / scientist from the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, a scientist having expertise in soil study from the department of soil science and agricultural chemistry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, and a senior soil conservation officer from the Department of Soil Survey and Soil Conservation as nominated by its Director.

The Bench comprising Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member K. Satyagopal issued the directive on the case pertaining to the allegation that effluents and hazardous waste from Edayar Zinc Ltd. (formerly Binani Zinc Ltd.) were responsible for the contamination of the paddy fields. The petitioner had said that the plant and machinery of the company, which is now shut, should not be allowed to be shifted before remitting its liability as per the ‘polluter pays principle’ for remediation of the affected sites.

The State Pollution Control Board had fixed ₹47.88 crore as the share of the company towards remediation of the contaminated site and had served notice on the management in 2018-19, asking it to remit the amount.

However, the company authorities claimed that they were not the only industry functioning in the area. They had requested the court to fix the liability only on the basis of proper evidence stating that they were responsible for the pollution of the sites.

The Bench has asked the expert committee to submit its report before May 31. The team will have to find out whether the company had contributed to the contamination of soil in the paddy fields. The joint committee should probe whether the industrial unit was processing waste scientifically and as per rules regarding disposal of hazardous substances. It should also check whether any of the past activities of the company still continued and resulted in the contamination of the fields.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 2:30:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/ngt-panel-to-probe-pollution-of-edayar-paddy-fields/article34385719.ece

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