Supreme Court Advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey has moved the NGT seeking cancellation of license of Reliance owned Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project, for deliberately throwing industrial garbage in the Rihand Reservoir, the only source of drinking water for people living in MP's Singrauli and UP's Sonebhadra districts.
The Petitioner had earlier approached the Tribunal seeking implementation of an action plan to resurrect the environmental quality of the area. Thereby, the Tribunal had constituted a High Power Committee, with a direction to submit periodical reports on the subject, every three months.
In the present petition it is submitted that in absolute derogation of this order, industries such as the Respondent, continue to dump fly ash, bottom ash, toxic residue and other industrial/ solid waste in the Reservoir, consequently damaging the health and life of people living in the vicinity.
The plea has been filed in wake of a recent incident dated April 10, 2020, whereby the Reservoir was contaminated, ensuing a breach in the Fly Ash Dyke of the Respondent plant, allegedly due to sheer "negligence".
"That due to the aforesaid breach of fly ash dyke of Sasan Ultra Mega Power Plant (Respondent No.1), fly ash destroyed then agricultural land and took lives of 6 innocent villagers (including 3 minor children) and many cattle swept away with the ash slurry in the "Rihand Reservior".
That due to the collapse of fly ash dyke on 10.04.2020, there has been huge loss to the environment and millions of metric tons of fly ash stored in the dyke have been deposited in the Rihand Reservoir through the "Nalla'/Drain. The damage has been caused to the environment in various contexts vis-a-vis ground water damage; damage to standing crops and the agricultural land have become unfertile," the plea states.
Significantly, this is the third incident of a fly ash breach in the past one year, including the Essar Mega Power Plant breach and the NTPC Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power Station leak.
It is submitted that the breach has led to excessive flouride concentration in the water, causing tumors, health hazardous such as dental and skeletal fluorosis, and impact on blood, hair, nails, and other body parts of the nearby residents.
In this backdrop, the Petitioner has sought forthwith removal of all industrial waste from the water bodies, villages, drinking wells, agricultural fields and from the Rihand Reservior, in addition to cancellation of license of the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project.
The Petitioner has urged the Tribunal to invoke the "Polluter Pays Principle" and direct the Respondent to install a Reverse Osmosis (RC) plant of reasonable capacity on the reservoir, for providing safe drinking water in the area.
Further, it is prayed that the Respondent be directed to pay adequate environmental damages for causing pollution in the Singrauli region and to restore the environment and pay compensation/ damages to the affected persons.
Inter alia, the Petitioner seeks a direction on the MOEF and other relevant authorities to formulate requisite guidelines, to secure proper checks and balance with respect to disposal of industrial wastes by the Industries running in that area.
The plea has been filed through Advocates Pankaj Sharma, Manish Kumar and Priyanka Toppo.