NGT was hearing a petition by activist Varun Gulati, which stated that the order passed by the tribunal hasn’t been strictly complied with by the respondents. The dyeing units had been penalised for illegally extracting groundwater in Sonipat’s Barhi without a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the authorities, but the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) had waived it off.
The tribunal had in November last year directed HSPCB to recall its waiver of the environmental compensation, which it had termed “clearly unjustified”. It had given HSPCB three months to follow the process, but the penalty wasn’t recovered, after which the petitioner approached the NGT.
“Issue notice to the respondents, returnable within four weeks. Respondents are directed to submit their reply within six weeks,” stated the order issued by NGT acting chairperson Sheo Kumar Singh, judicial magistrate Arun Kumar Tyagi and expert member Dr A Senthil Vel on Wednesday.
The next hearing will be conducted on November 10.
Meanwhile, HSPCB chairman P Raghavendra Rao said the board will act on the NGT’s directions.
“We can’t recover environmental compensation in this particular case as there is a water authority now in place, which will collect the fine. We will inform the Sonipat deputy commissioner and the water authority about the NGT order and submit an action-taken report after we gather details of work carried out so far by other departments. We will act as per the NGT order,” he told TOI.
Meanwhile, a senior official from the water authority said that they will look into the matter and take action accordingly.
“NOC can be granted only for drinking domestic use for the workforce. Permissions are not granted to the new industries in over exploited areas. We will submit our reply to the tribunal,” the official added.