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Vizag gas leak: Supreme Court asks LG Polymers to file response in 10 days, defers NGT proceedings

A view of LG Polymers. File photo.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The Supreme Court on Thursday deferred the National Green Tribunal (NGT) proceedings indefinitely and ordered LG Polymers to file its response to a Joint Monitoring Committee report highlighting many lacunae in the functioning of its Visakhapatnam plant prior to a gas leak on May 7 leaving 12 dead and several injured.

A Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit gave LG Polymers 10 days’ time as a “last opportunity” to file its objections to the report which was uploaded on the NGT website on May 23.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the company “could not” file its response to the report after June 1 due to several unexpected reasons.

Also read | ‘LG plant staff not qualified to handle styrene leak’

“We are willing to defer the hearing for you to file the objections to the report,” Justice Lalit told Mr. Rohatgi.

The Bench scheduled a hearing for November 16.

On June 15, the Supreme Court stayed an NGT order of June 1, which directed LG Polymers to pay ₹50 crore for the restoration of environment and payment of interim compensation to victims of the gas leak.

On June 1, the tribunal also directed the framing of a “restoration plan”, final quantification of the compensation to be paid to victims and action against officials responsible for allowing the company to function without statutory clearances. All of these directions were stayed by the Supreme court.

LG Polymers had appealed to the Supreme Court, challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to take up the case suo motu and direct the company to pay the compensation, especially when the case was already pending in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

The company had also questioned the High Court order to seal the Visakhapatnam factory and premises. The company argued the sealing was unconstitutional.

The High Court had also sought information on how the toxic styrene monomer was allowed to be transported to South Korea despite the registration of a crime in connection with the May 7 leak, the appointment of a probe team and the requirement of a magisterial enquiry.

The High Court had even asked the Centre and the Andhra government to provide the net worth of LG Polymers Pvt. Ltd. as per the Companies Act.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 4:22:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/vizag-gas-leak-supreme-court-asks-lg-polymers-to-file-response-in-10-days-defers-ngt-proceedings/article32970699.ece

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