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Industrialization Necessary For Economy But Shouldn't Be At The Cost Of Human Lives By Destroying Eco-System: Orissa High Court

Sparsh Upadhyay
29 Dec 2020 11:21 AM GMT
Industrialization Necessary For Economy But Shouldnt Be At The Cost Of Human Lives By Destroying Eco-System: Orissa High Court
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The Orissa High Court last week observed that industrialization is required for enhancement of revenue, but that does not mean that it should be done at the cost of the lives of human being by destroying eco-system. The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Dr. BR Sarangi further observed that there should be equilibrium between the industrialization and...

The Orissa High Court last week observed that industrialization is required for enhancement of revenue, but that does not mean that it should be done at the cost of the lives of human being by destroying eco-system.

The Bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Dr. BR Sarangi further observed that there should be equilibrium between the industrialization and eco-system.

The matter before the Court

The Division Bench was hearing the plea of New Light Yubak Sangha (a club) seeking a direction to initiate an inquiry on the basis of the grievance made by the villagers of Sodamal and the Club further sought cancellation of the notification through which 8 acres of forest land in Sodamal village was allotted to a Waste Management Firm by the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (IDCO).

In-fact the land in question, was handed over to IDCO on lease basis and IDCO handed over the same to opposite party no.8 for setting up of the industry by allotting the area measuring Ac.8.00 decimals for the project.

Allegedly, the District Level Single Window Clearance Committee without giving an opportunity of hearing to the local villagers approved the application of opposite party no.8 for allotment of forest land in which newly planted valuable trees were growing.

In this backdrop, the Club stated that if an industry would be set up on the land in question, there would be destruction of eco-system by felling down the trees at the cost of livelihood of the local people and it would be in gross violation of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner club, while challenging the allotment of land to IDCO, without hearing the villagers and other stakeholders, also argued that it created new forest over the land in question by planting valuable trees under the afforestation programme of the government and the forest department had supplied the trees for plantation over the said land.

Court's Order

The Court opined,

"In view of the steps taken by opposite party no.8 at the cost of local people is serious one, thereby, as has been stated earlier if the lease was allotted in the year 2011 and 2015 and the said proposal was cancelled, subsequently there was no valid justifiable reason to set up the industry by opposite party no.8 in the said land by destroying the eco-system without hearing the grievance of the local people."

Importantly, the Court said,

"No doubt, industrialization is required for enhancement of revenue, but that does not mean at the cost of the lives of human being by destroying eco-system. Thereby, equity has to be maintained between industrialization and eco-system itself. Unless there is equilibrium between the two systems, ultimate result will be devastated."

Further, noting that since the petitioner had already moved the representation the Collector and District Magistrate, Jharsuguda and the same was still pending for consideration, the Court disposed of the writ petition by directing them to consider the representation.

The Court has directed them to pass a reasoned and speaking order by affording opportunity of hearing to the petitioner vis-à-vis opposite party no.8 and other affected persons, if any, as expeditiously as possible preferably within a period of three months before setting up of the unit of opposite party no.8 in the locality.

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