National Green Tribunal Southern Bench becomes operational

The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the first permanent zonal bench, became operational here from Tuesday.

At a news conference, the Bench judicial member Justice M. Chokalingam and expert member R. Nagendran said that it would cover four southern States and the Union Territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep.

It would decide the fate of the new Legislative Assembly-cum-Secretariat complex on Omandurar Estate. The present government wants to convert into a multi-super speciality hospital.

Chemplast Sanmar Limited’s chemical plant in Mettur, Udupi Power Corporation’s thermal power plant at Yellur in Karnataka, Alfa Infrapop Private Limited’s thermal power plant at Vizianagar in Andhra Pradesh are some of the other notable cases before the Bench, which would start hearing on the afternoon of November 2.

The guiding principles of the Bench would be sustainable development, precautionary principle and the ‘polluters pay’ concept, said Mr. Chokalingam.

Of the over 400 cases filed and 250 cases disposed of by the Principal Bench in New Delhi, the cases from the southern zone were dominant, which could be due to high level of awareness, said Mr. Nagendran.

Already, environment-related cases in the Green Benches of the High Courts of the southern States were being transferred to the NGT’s southern zonal branch. The objective would be to provide effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environment protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources, including enforcement of legal rights and compensation or damages in environment matters.

NGT has got original and appellate jurisdiction on matters pertaining to seven Acts related to water, air, forest conservation, environment protection and biological diversity, said Justice Chokalingam.

“Awareness is the bottom line for environmental protection,” Mr. Nagendran said.

The NGT’s southern Bench is located at 950/1, TNPCB Building, Poonamallee High Road, Arumbakkam, Chennai – 600106.

It will decide fate of new Legislative Assembly-cum-Secretariat complex