The National Green Tribunal has imposed a compensation of Rs 41.21 crore on state-run Singareni Collieries Company Limited in Telangana for violation of environmental clearance conditions and mining excess coal. A bench of justices K Ramakrishnan and expert member Dr Satyagopal Korlapati directed the mining department to calculate the penalty payable for the excess mining, in view of directions issued by the Supreme Court.
"Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) is directed to pay a compensation of Rs 41.21 crores.. within a period of three months with the Telangana State Pollution Control Board, and if the amount is not paid within that time, the state pollution control board is directed to take steps to recover the amount from them by requesting the district collector to initiate revenue recovery proceedings," the bench said.
The green panel directed the Telangana State Pollution Control Board to identify people whose houses have been damaged, as observed by a joint committee, partially due to vibrations caused on account of blasting during the initial stages.
"The environment compensation amount will have to be utilised for the purpose of preparing a welfare scheme for protecting the welfare and interest of the people who are residing in and around the coal mining area who are likely to be affected by the project activities, and also a portion of the compensation will have to be utilised for meeting the welfare of the tribal settlement, if any, situated in Khammam district or nearby districts. Mode of welfare scheme etc., will have to be evolved by the committee appointed by this tribunal for this purpose," the bench said.
The NGT said the preparation of the scheme must be in consultation with the chief secretary of Telangana and the special chief secretary of the Department of Environment, Science and Technology, and that will have to be jointly implemented by the state pollution control board and the district collector concerned.
"SCCL is directed to provide necessary greenbelt and other pollution control mechanism to avoid air and dust pollution being caused. They are also directed not to discharge any trade effluents or liquid waste generated during the operation of their mine, and they are directed to strictly implement the ZLD within their unit.
"SCCL is also directed to expedite the laying of railway tracks and complete the same, and take steps to transport the coal using the railway line instead of roads as directed to be complied with within the timeline specified in the environmental clearance (EC) granted," the bench said.
The judgement came on a plea filed by Banothu Nandu Nayak, a resident of Sattupalli village of Telangana, regarding the violation committed by the Singareni Collieries Company Limited in respect of conditions in the environmental clearance and consent granted and also pollution caused on account of operation of the unit.
The plea, filed through advocate Sravan Kumar, alleged that the applicant, along with 700 families, are living adjacent to the Opencast Coal Mine operated by the SCCL, facing severe air, noise and water pollution, besides severe heat due to massive blasting, drilling and extraction of coal.
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