Published On: Tue, Feb 15th, 2022

NGT slaps Rs 50 cr fine on Muzaffarnagar distillery unit over environmental violations

New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a penalty of Rs 50 crore on Sir Shadilal Distillery and Chemical Works in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar for flouting environmental norms by contaminating water through discharging of highly organic load in the water bodies of the area.

A compliance status in the matter also sought to submit by the CPCB and State PCB by May 15

A bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel noted that the excise duty paid by the Project Proponent(PP) is more than Rs 1,500 crore per year on average.

“In view of the same, the turnover of the PP does not appear to be less than Rs 2,500 crore per year. Having regard to repetitive violations of serious nature, we determine the liability of the Project Proponent at 2 per cent of its annual turnover i.e Rs 50 crore,” stated the order dated February 11.

The Tribunal asked the distillery to pay the fine to Central Pollution Control Board within two months.

It has also directed the violator to spend the amount on the restoration of the environment in the area including waterbodies — Mansurpur drain and the pond. Part of the amount may be spent in the execution of the District Environment Plan in the area, the green court said asking a joint committee to implement the plans within a year.

A compliance status in the matter also sought to submit by the CPCB and State PCB by May 15.

During the visit of the UP Pollution Control Board on August 8, 2021, it was found that the distillery was violating the Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) condition and was allegedly discharging high organic load (pH 4.9, COD 28,700) effluent into Mansurpur drain through a common channel. The Mansurpur drain showed pH 5.2, COD 18,400 indicating contamination of drain with distillery effluent thereby a serious threat to the water quality of River Kali (West), the NGT observed.

Pointing to another site inspection, the tribunal said on November 17, 2021, it was found that the Mansurpur drain water quality showed pH 5.6 and BOD 843 mg/l indicating contamination of drain with industrial discharge. The lower values of pH are on account of molasses/spent wash-bearing effluent, it said.

The green court said it was established that the company has been violating the environmental norms which include violation of ZLD condition by discharging effluent into the drain as well as disposing effluent on earthen land. Overflowing of the lagoon was observed on November 20 and 23, 2021, it noted.

Analysis of water during inspection has confirmed the violations. The project proponent has thus to be held accountable on the polluter pays principle. The compensation assessed does not cover all the non-compliance, including failure to develop a green belt, the NGT said.

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