The National Green Tribunal slapped an interim penalty of Rs50 crore on LG Polymers India and sought response from the Centre and others on Friday in the gas leak incident in Visakhapatnam, Andhra, saying, “there appears to be a failure to comply with the said rules and other statutory provisions”.
A bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, set up a 5-member Committee to probe Thursday’s gas leak incident in the chemical factory, in which 12 people were killed and 1,000 exposed, and submit a report before May 18. “Having regard to the prima facie material regarding the extent of damage to life, public health and environment, we direct LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd to forthwith deposit an initial amount of Rs50 crore, with the District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam, which will abide by further orders of this tribunal. The amount is being fixed having regard to the financial worth of the company and the extent of the damage caused,” the bench said.
The NGT issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, LG Polymers India, Andhra Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, Central Pollution Control Board, Vishakhapatnam District Magistrate and sought their response before May 18, the next hearing.
Meanwhile, Andra government said all efforts are on to prevent any further toxic emissions from the tanks of a plant in Vishakapatnam district. Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh briefed the National Crisis Management Committee on the ground situation as well as the actions taken by them after the incident to evacuate people and to contain the leakage in the plant.
The Andhra Chief Secretary joined the meeting through video conferencing along with officials of the Vishakhapatnam district.
The committee, under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba met for the second successive day to review the situation arising out of the gas leak. During the video conference, issues related to the long-term impact of the gas on health and on the quality of water and air were discussed. The Cabinet Secy reviewed the current situation, preparedness, rescue and relief operations and directed all assistance.