Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding brick kilns in district Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, 09/07/2020

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Vikas Singh Vs Uttar Pradesh Pollution Control Board & Others dated 09/07/2020.

The issue for consideration is the remedial action against illegal operation of brick kilns in District Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh (UP) where 600 brick kilns were illegally operating. The applicant has alleged that all the brick kilns were located within 50 to 500 meters east or west of the village habitations resulting in cancer and asthma to 40% inhabitants.

The NGT in its order of November 15, 2019 had ordered for the closing of the polluting brick kilns but it has come to the notice of the court that during the lockdown period, the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh vide GO no 227/P.S.M.S./2020 dated March 29, 2020 issued directions to all the District Magistrates of UP to allow the brick kilns to operate in the state.

Several brick kilns were closed during the lockdown period as most of the labours went back to their respective areas, but it was seen that few of the brick kilns were operating during the lockdown period in compliance to the directions passed by Chief Secretary.

The NGT reprimended the Chief Secretary and said that apart from the expert report that operation of brick kilns was in violation of carrying capacity and resulted in air pollution and was in violation of law, the Chief Secretary also went against the court order. The Tribunal warned the Chief Secretary of UP to be careful, failing which it would lead to "direct prosecution, stoppage of salary and other coercive measures for violation of the order." The Chief Secretary has to ensure compliance of orders of the Tribunal on a strict basis and declared void the order of the Chief Secretary passed in respect to the brick kilns.