"The industries are not taking any precautionary measures to stop the pollution and are merely working for their greed & profit, which is affecting the life of common man and upcoming generation. The health, life and limb of children and the residents of nearby villages are at stake. The newly born, young children are also affected with unknown and serious ailments /illness, diseases. The children are born with defects in their body parts. Many people have serious ailments/ diseases and also have problems in their breathing and in other body functioning."
A plea has been filed in the National Green Tribunal, seeking ban on dumping of industrial waste, fly ash and other toxic substances in water bodies of MP's Singrauli and UP's Sonebhadra districts.
The plea has been filed by Advocate Ashwani Dubey, in wake of a recent incident dated October 6, whereby the Rihand Reservoir, the only source of drinking water for the people of Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts, was contaminated, ensuing a breach in the "Fly Ash Dyke" of NTPC Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station.
"…the said incident did not happen first time in the history of that area but is a continuous tragedy which happened every year and earlier happened more than twice in each year due to the negligence of the industries situated there," he submitted.
He has prayed that apposite directions be issued to the Government of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to take necessary and immediate steps for safeguarding the affected residents of Singrauli and Sonebhadra districts and to provide them safe drinking water.
The petition alleges that the breaches are a result of the power plants' negligence and they must be made liable for the same under the "polluter pays principle".
The Petitioner alleges that despite repeated breaches and immeasurable harm done to the environment as well as the mankind, the industries continue to operate and flout all environmental norms. He has pointed out that as per the report submitted by an Oversight Committee headed by Justice Rajes Kumar, they visited the area and found that no concrete steps have been taken by the Respondent-industries for preservation of the reservoir.
"As per the report, the Rihand Reservoir (Govind Vallabh Pant Sagar), the only source of drinking water of the area is highly contaminated and the fly ash, bottom ash, toxic residue and other industrial waste are continuously flowing in the reservoir and the industries despite the orders/directions, have not taken any remedial measures to stop the same," the plea read.
As pet the petition, the breaches also entered agricultural fields and damaged standing crops of poor farmers.
"despite of directions issued for the control of pollution and discharge of solid waste and toxic residue in a precautionary manner, the Respondent has not taken any preventive measures and it has become a routine for the industry which is causing serious damage to the environment, local people, cattle's, fields, existing crops and water bodies," the Petitioner submitted.
Allegedly, the ash dykes of all power plants operating in the area have reached to their saturated level, leading to overflow, which is discharged into the Rihand Reservoir.
"Most of the ash ponds have attained there maximum height and reached their saturation, and therefore, have no further augmentation capacity for disposal of ash slurry. The situation will be worse in the next five years, unless proper measures are taken to augment and accelerate the utilization of fly ash as per the notification of 2009."
Thus, it has been prayed that the industries be directed to make permanent arrangements to stop dumping of waste in water bodies. The Petitioner has also prayed that the Oversight Committee should be appointed to continuously monitor the power plants and to take stringent action against the polluting industries.
The Petitioner had earlier approached the Supreme Court seeking directions in this regard. However, the matter was later withdrawn with liberty to approach the NGT.
Last year, the NGT had asked NTPC Aravali Power and Jhajjar Power about their current status of fly ash disposal and management and an action plan with a timeline, on a complaint that huge amount of fly ash had been accumulating in the surrounding areas.
Click Here To Download Petition
Read Petition Here