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National Green Tribunal disposes of case

By Ajit Patowary

GUWAHATI, Jan 23 � The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has disposed of the case filed by environment activist Rohit Choudhury (Original Application No 38 in Main Application 181 to 200/2012 and Original Application No 38 in MA No 179/2012) on the issue of pollution caused by the tea industry of the State located within the �No Development Zone� in the vicinity of Kaziranga National Park (KNP). In total, about 25 tea factories of Golaghat district were under the ambit of this case.

The NGT said in its order that the application is disposed of in terms of the minutes of the meeting held between the parties, in which they have agreed upon several points. The minutes forms part of the NGT order.

The NGT said in its order that the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the Pollution Control Board, Assam (PCBA) would jointly prepare the effluent treatment plants (ETPs) and would give them to the parties within the next six weeks from the date of its order, ie., January 19, 2015.

�The ETPs shall be installed expeditiously. In the event of delay we grant liberty to any of the party to move the Tribunal for appropriate orders.� said the NGT in its order.

Hailing the NGT order, North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) chairman Bidyananda Barkakoty said, �We are happy that we finally got justice in this matter.�

The minutes of the meeting held between the parties said that the PCBA and the CPCB had found the noise and air pollution, the pollution caused by the processed water of the tea factories and their source emissions were found to be within the permissible limits.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in its December 2, 2014 affidavit before the NGT, said that the pesticide residue was found to be below detectable level in the effluent discharge from the tea factories, the minutes said.

It further said that the applicant tea industries would construct proper sheds for storage of coal as suggested by the MoEF in its October 13, 2014 affidavit. Moreover, it said the applicant tea industries undertake to switch over to natural gas from coal as and when the same is made available by the authorities concerned.

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