Order of the National Green Tribunal on the matter of violations taking place in the transportation of coal from Kulda to Tamnar, 15/07/2022
Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of In re: News report published in the Newspaper named Indian Express, Daily News Paper dated : 4th February, 2022, Kolkata, Late City Edition titled “Non compliance of EC conditions by Kulda coal mine, Odisha & Tamnar Thermal Plant, Chattisgarh” dated 15/07/2022.
Proceedings were initiated in the present matter based on media report to the effect that there is violation of environment norms, particularly the EC conditions in operation of Kulda Coal Mine, Odisha and Tamnar Thermal Plant, Chhattisgarh. It is alleged that the violations take place in the course of transportation of coal from Kulda to Tamnar in 200 dumpers of 21 tonne capacity, requiring 400 daily trips or a truck passing every 3-4 minutes, round the clock, through 14 villages with a combined population of over 15,000 as per census 2011.
The Joint Committee constituted by the orders of the NGT, in its report, July 11, 2022 acknowledged violations and recommended remedial action.
The report said that "at present, more than 1400 nos of heavy coal transporting vehicles (both loaded and unloaded trucks) passes through the road. Heavy traffic of coal transportation vehicles in the major district road has affected the use of the road by villagers for their basic needs". Further, the road in question was in a damaged condition for more than five years and due to the damaged road condition, villagers were facing fugitive dust problems and noise issues during plying of vehicles.
All the members of the committee agreed to the fact that the existing coal transport from Kulda to Tamnar through the road passing through the villages is not in motorable condition and has an impact on the environment, health and safety of local villagers. This road needs to be repaired and renovated at the earliest.
The NGT, July 15, 2022 after considering the report directed that remedial actions should be taken in terms of the recommendations of the joint committee report to stop further pollution and to fix liability for the past violations on 'polluter pays' principle. In particular, road needs to be constructed expeditiously, as recommended by the Committee. For this purpose, the Chief Secretaries, Orissa and Chhattisgarh has been asked to hold a joint meeting along with the project proponents and members of the joint committee, constituted by the tribunal, within one month to work out further course of action, including apportionment of the cost for the construction for protection of the environment and enforcement of EC conditions.
In case, there is no consensus in the meeting, the joint Committee has to divide the liability of the project proponents of both the states so that construction of road takes place speedily. The meeting should be held within one month and chaired by the Chief Secretary, Orissa. The joint Committee would file an action taken report within three months, the NGT order said.