Published On: Tue, Jan 11th, 2022

Haldia blast: NGT notes noncompliance of safety norms in Bengal’s IOC refinery

New Delhi: Noting that the response of the West Bengal Pollution Control Board over the Indian Oil Corporation’s Haldia refinery blast on December 21 last year does not deal with the compliance of safety norms in the refinery, the National Green Tribunal has directed a Joint Committee to visit the site and identify measures to be taken, including compensation for the victims and for damage to the environment.

We are informed that ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh each has been paid to the heirs of the deceased

Observing that the safety norms are not in compliance with the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989, under the Environment Protection Act, particularly preparation of onsite and offsite emergency plans and holding of mock drills, the Green Court said it is necessary to prepare a plan to ensure that such incidents do not occur.

“We are informed that ex-gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh each has been paid to the heirs of the deceased. The same may not be adequate. The injured may also have to be compensated,” the NGT said in an order dated January 7.

It was also stated that though the learned counsel present seek time to remedy the above aspects, “but we find no justification for doing so. Instead, it will be in the interest of justice to direct the statutory authorities to take remedial action for ensuring due compensation to the victims and compliance with environmental and safety norms so as to ensure that such incidents do not recur”.

A Joint Committee comprising CPCB, State PCB, and District Magistrate may meet within two weeks and undertake a visit to the site and interact with the stakeholders, it directed.

The Committee may also consider reports of industrial accidents in the recent past on directions of this Tribunal which are available on the website of CPCB. The State PCB will be the Nodal Agency for coordination and compliance. A report in the matter be filed within two months with the Registrar General of this Tribunal with copies thereof to the Chief Secretary, West Bengal, and other statutory authorities for further action, it added.

 

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