The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal has appointed a joint committee to inspect Sun Pharmaceuticals’ facility near the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary and to find out whether it is following proper pollution control mechanisms.
The bench of Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member Saibal Dasgupta directed a committee comprising a senior officer from the regional offices of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change; a senior scientist each from the Central Pollution Control Board and Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board; a senior forest officer not below the rank of the Chief Conservator of Forest; Collector, Kancheepuram district and the District Forest Officer, Kancheepuram district, to investigate whether the unit was unauthorisedly discharging any untreated trade effluents into the nearby agricultural fields or other waterbodies.
“If so, what is the impact of that illegality on the water quality as well as the soil quality in the locality? If there is any violation and degradation found, what are the steps to be taken for remediation and also assess environmental compensation against them in accordance with law,” the bench said.
The order came on an application that claimed that the manufacturing plant is close to the ‘core zone’ of the Vedanthangal Bird Sanctuary, and alleged that the unit was operating without environment clearance.
The applicant said there was expansion after its establishment and no environment clearance was obtained. They claimed it was discharging effluents into nearby waterbodies, including the Vedanthangal lake and nearby agricultural fields used for nesting and foraging of birds.
The application comes at a time when the Forest Department has proposed to denotify the outer 2 km of the core zone of the bird sanctuary that has come under fire from various quarters including political parties and environmentalists.