The National Green Tribunal has directed the State Pollution Control Board to take immediate action against 225 brick kilns, said to be illegally operating in the Sriganganagar District of Rajasthan alone.
On being informed that over 200 brick kilns are operating in the district without obtaining a valid consent from the Pollution Control Board under the Air and the Water Acts, a Bench comprising of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel (Chairperson), Justice Sheo Kumar Singh (Judicial Member) and Dr. Nagin Nanda (Expert Member) ordered,
"For those not having consents, closure can be immediately, particularly when show cause notice has already been given. For those having consents, it is necessary to verify whether they are meeting the prescribed pollution norms and the siting norms."
To give effect to the same, the Tribunal has constituted a Joint Committee comprising of CPCB, State PCB and District Magistrate, Ganga Nagar.
It further ordered, "The State PCB and District Magistrate may take remedial action against kilns operating without consent forthwith and for assessment and recovery of compensation, after following due process. Similarly, action be taken, in accordance with law, against those found non-compliant, and action taken report filed."
In January 2020, State Pollution Control Board had filed a statement before the NGT disclosing that it had issued show cause notices to 225 illegal brick kilns, for intended closure.
The Tribunal noted that more than a year has passed since then but the said illegal brick kilns continue to operate. "We are of the opinion that further follow up action needs to be taken to prevent illegal operation of brick kilns and recovery of environmental compensation for the period of illegal operation, following due process of law," it observed.
The Applicant also submitted that since it is a matter of record that these brick kilns are operating without any consent, there is no need for show cause notice.
The NGT therefore directed the concerned authorities to initiate immediate action against such errant brick kilns and recover environmental compensation for the period of illegal operation.
"Notice is not being issued to individual kilns, as the statutory authorities will follow due process while taking action, in exercise of their statutory powers, for which hearing by this Tribunal is not required," the order stated.
Applicant was represented by Advocate Pushpinder Singh; Respondent was represented by Advocate Sundaram Singh.
Case Title: Hakam Singh & Anr. v. State of Rajasthan & Ors.