19 Feb 2021 9:19 AM GMT
The National Green Tribunal has on Tuesday issued notices to the State of Tamil Nadu, Central and State Pollution Control Board and the District Magistrate in the matter of blast at a firecracker factory in Virudhnagar. The Principal Bench of Delhi has also formed a eight member committee to secure credible facts and look into the incident that left 19 dead and more than...
The National Green Tribunal has on Tuesday issued notices to the State of Tamil Nadu, Central and State Pollution Control Board and the District Magistrate in the matter of blast at a firecracker factory in Virudhnagar.
The Principal Bench of Delhi has also formed a eight member committee to secure credible facts and look into the incident that left 19 dead and more than 30 injured, after taking cognisance of a news News item published in the News Indian Express dated 12th Feb 2021.
The District magistrate and the State Pollution Control Board have been asked to provide logistic support to the Committee to enable their fact- finding and reporting, and the State has been asked to bear the Committee's initial cost of functioning including the honorarium to the non-official members to be determined in consultation with them.
The Committee has been granted the liberty to take assistance of such experts, individuals and institutions as they deem necessary, with the Central and State Pollution Control Board will jointly acting as nodal agency for coordination and compliance.
The Committee has been given the liberty to visit the site preferably within one week and submit its report to the Tribunal, with details including the sequence of events, causes of failure and persons and authorities responsible. The Tribunal has also asked the Committee to report about the status of onsite and offsite plans, mock drills and safety SoPs, along with the extent of damage caused to life, public health, and environment. The Tribunal has asked for the Committee's input regarding the steps to be taken for compensating the victims and restitution of the damaged property and environment along with remedial measures to prevent recurrence.
The Committee will be free to conduct its proceedings online and take the assistance from any other expert or organisation. It may suitably interact with the stakeholders and, apart from considering the present incident, also consider remedial measures for preventing such incident in the area or by other establishments even beyond the area.
The information about existence and working of onsite and offsite plans in terms of 1989 Rules and conducting of mock drills and safety SOPs. number of such units in the area and the carrying capacity may be compiled stating if siting criteria for such establishments needs to be reviewed considering the area's habitation or other establishments in the vicinity.
The Tribunal has also asked for a compilation of reports of Expert Committees that dealt with similar issues of industrial accidents resulting in deaths and injuries in the recent past.
The Tribunal has in its order observed that the incident has given rise to a substantial question of environment relating to compliance of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 and Chemical Accidents (Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules, 1996 which have been framed under the Environment Protection Act, 1986.
"It is thus necessary to determine the above question and if necessary, award relief under Section 15 of the NGT Act to the victims and for restoration of the environment after determining the liability of the persons engaged in such activity as well as role of the statutory regulators in failing to prevent the same" - the Tribunal observed .
The Tribunal noted that other than determining liability of persons involved in such activities, it is also important to decide several preventive measures to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future in such activities. The Court has there sought the response of the Tamil Nadu government, the Central Pollution Control Board, State Pollution Control Board District Magistrate, Virudhunagar and the factory involved Sree Mariyammal Fireworks.
The incident took place in a Nagpur-licensed Sree Mariyammal Fireworks-factory at Achankulam Village in Virudhunagar District at on 12th February. A compensation of Rs. 2 lakhs to the family of those killed and Rs. 50,000 to the family of those critically injured has been announced from the Prime Minister National Relief Fund. Further compensation has been announced from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund whereby sum of Rs. 3 lakhs will be given to the families of those dead and Rs. 1 lakh to the families of those critically injured.
Click Here To Download Order