The Supreme Court has stayed National Green Tribunal order imposing Rs 20 crore penalty on four units of Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd in Uttar Pradesh for continuous violation of environmental laws.
A bench of Justices Indira Banerjee and J K Maheshwari issued notices to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA), UP Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) and others on an appeal filed by Dhampur Sugar Mills.
"Issue notice, returnable in six weeks. In the meanwhile there will be a stay of the order to the extent of payment of compensation of Rs 5 crore which has been imposed against each unit and the costs of Rs 10 lakh to be paid by Respondent Nos. 1 to 3 (Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd)," the bench said.
The top court, in its October 8 order, also said no further steps shall be taken by the committee, formed by the NGT for assess damage, for a period of six weeks.
The sugar manufacturing company had moved the apex court against the NGT order.
The tribunal, after perusing various inspection reports filed by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board (UPPCB) , said that there was damage caused to the environment for a considerable time.
The NGT had imposed environmental compensation of Rs 5 crore each on Dhampur Sugar Mills, District Sambhal; Dhampur Sugar Mills, District Bijnor; Dhampur Distillery Unit, District Bijnor and Dhampur Sugar Mills, Meerganj, District Bareilly, and directed them to pay the amount in 30 days from September 1, 2021.
The tribunal had also constituted a committee comprising members from CPCB (to be nominated by the Chairman), one from UPPCB and the District Magistrates concerned to conduct a detailed study regarding the extent of damage caused to the environment.
The committee will also interact with the farmers and local inhabitants who may have suffered loss/ damage because of pollution caused by the units, it said.
"We also impose a litigation cost of Rs 10 lakh which shall be paid by respondents no 1 to 3 (Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd) to CPCB within a period of one month and the said amount will be utilised for the protection and preservation of environment," the NGT had said in its order.
The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by Adil Ansari seeking penal action against the units of Dhampur Sugar Mills Ltd including the imposition of the appropriate environmental compensation for non compliance of Environmental norms/laws.