After a resident of Pittalavanipalem filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the tribunal stepped in and served a notice to Vizag Collector, A Mallikarjuna and asked him to inspect NTPC Simhadri Power Plant in person. The NGT’s Southern bench has also asked the Vizag Collector to send a full-fledged report, or at least an interim report, before the next hearing scheduled for 7 January, 2022.
The National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) notice to Vizag Collector comes after Battu Satish, a resident of Pittalavanipalem, lodged a complaint on 17 November, 2021. The complainant alleged that the plant violated conditions pertaining to environment clearance. The complaint was filed against NTPC Simhadri, Union of India, Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB), and the District Collector of Vizag.
Satish Reddy, the complainant, whose house is situated 50 meters away from the ash pond of the Simhadri Power Plant, alleged that the plant was continuously violating the conditions specified in the environment clearance guaranteed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The complaint further stated that severe dust and water pollution is being caused by the plant.
It could be noted that in July 2021, in a similar incident, a resident from Vizag filed a petition with the National Green Tribunal (NGT) alleging that mining activity was being carried out over 121 hectares of forest, located in unsurveyed land. Acting on this complaint, the tribunal appointed a joint committee with a senior official from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Visakhapatnam District Collector, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), a senior official from the Mines and Geology Department, and a senior official from the APPCB to look into the allegations of unauthorised laterite mining.