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Friday, 8 January 2021

Post NGT directive, Panipat refinery to hold plantation drive, lay new pipelines

Mukesh Tandon

Tribune News Service

Panipat, January 7

Following the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the joint committee has come up with a plan for the restoration of environment and public health in villages adjoining to the IOCL Panipat Refinery.

The committee has decided to conduct the medical check-ups of residents of six villages, dig up new borewells to provide potable water, lay new pipelines for draining effluents and hold a plantation drive.

Notably, Satpal Singh, sarpanch, Singhpura-Sithna gram panchayat, had filed a complaint with the NGT in 2018, alleging that the IOCL Panipat Refinery caused air and water pollution around Bohli, Dadlana and Sithana villages of the district. He alleged that air pollution caused by the refinery had led to outbreak of diseases, affecting a large number of people in the adjoining villages.

A Bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had ordered an inquiry into the matter by a joint committee, comprising Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and the District Magistrate, Panipat. The NGT directed the committee to make a restoration plan for environment and public health on July 25 last year.

Based on the committee’s reports, the NGT ordered the refinery to deposit interim environment compensation of Rs 17.31 crore and calculate the total damages, which came to Rs 659.49 crore. Of this, the refinery had deposited Rs 17.31 crore with the CPCB in 2019.

The NGT also directed the refinery to pay Rs 25 crore to the CPCB so that Rs 17.31 crore given earlier along with the amount deposited now can be spent on the restoration of environment and public health. Following the NGT directions, the refinery has deposited Rs 25 crore with the CPCB and the committee prepared a restoration plan.

Meanwhile, the Civil Surgeon has submitted a proposal under which they have to purchase a special mobile van to conduct the tests of residents and hire doctors and paramedics for the purpose. The Irrigation Department has also submitted a proposal of around Rs 17 crore for laying pipes for effluent discharge and install online monitoring system, while the Forest Department has sent a proposal of Rs 4 lakh for a plantation drive and the Public Health Department has proposed to dig up borewells for potable water in five villages till June 30.

Moreover, the Health Department will conduct check-up of the residents in six villages till June 30 and the Forest Department would plant saplings and submit reports on their growth till December 31, he said.

from The Tribune

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