Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding gas leak in an apparel factory at Atchutapuram in Anakapalli district, Andhra Pradesh, 18/01/2023

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of In re : News item published in Hindustan Times dated 03.06.2022 titled “178 women workers fall ill after gas leak in Andhra’s Visakhapatnam” dated 18/01/2023.

Proceedings were initiated suo-motu in view of media report about gas leak at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, affecting the health of 178 women workers.

The NGT directed the unit to follow laid down safety protocols in future and compensate the victims and the environment. The court said that 539 workers identified in the report as having been admitted to hospital by gas leak are entitled to compensation @ Rs 1 lakh each. The project proponent is held accountable to pay compensation of Rs 10 crores.

The court directed that the compensation of Rs 10 crores be deposited  with the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board within two months failing which coercive measures including closure may be taken by the SPCB. Out of the said amount, a sum of Rs. 5 crores may be remitted by the State PCB to Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority for being disbursed to the victims, preferably within three months after receipt by the authority.

The court ordered the Andhra Pradesh State Legal Services Authority to prepare an action plan for identification and payment to the victims. The remaining amount will be spent by the SPCB for environmental improvement in the area by preparing an action plan with the approval of the CPCB. The plan has to be prepared within one month and considered by the CPCB within another month. Restoration measures will include installation of equipment for monitoring volatile compounds in the area, apart from plantations and other measures.

Seeds Intimate Apparel Factory is an is an apparel company located at Atchutapuram in Anakapalli district, Andhra Pradesh. The first incident occurred on June 3, 2022 while the second incident occurred on August 2, 2022.