The National Green Tribunal (NGT), a statutory body which handles cases related to environmental issues, declared that South Korean company, LG Polymers India has absolute liability for the loss of life and public health in the gas leak incident at its plant in Vizag. The NGT has further informed that the interim penalty of Rs 50 crore would be spent on compensation to the victims and in restoration of the environment.
In the wake of the tragic gas leak in Vizag, the NGT directed that a restoration plan should be proposed by a committee comprising two representatives each from the Union Ministry of Environment and Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and three representatives from the Andhra Pradesh State Government. Furthermore, the tribunal also scrapped the company’s plea seeking review of its 8 May order, slapping an interim penalty of Rs 50 crore on the company. The NGT added that it is justified in taking suo motu cognisance of the matter.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel said that the final calculation of compensation may be assessed by a committee comprising representatives of the Union Ministry of Environment, CPCB, and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI). The bench added that the committee will be at liberty to associate any other expert institution or individual. The Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) will ensure the constitution of such committee within two weeks. The committee will give its report within two months thereafter.
The NGT also directed Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary to take appropriate action against those who are responsible for the failure of law in permitting the company to operate without statutory clearances within two months and give a report. In order to prevent recurrence of such unfortunate tragedies, the NGT further requested the MoEF to constitute an Expert Committee to suggest ways and means to revamp monitoring mechanism to check and prevent violation of environmental norms in any of the establishments dealing with hazardous chemicals.