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"Utter Lack Of Concern For Loss Of Human Life By Authorities": NGT Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Deaths Due To Factory Fire, Appoints Joint Committee

Nupur Thapliyal
26 July 2021 3:45 AM GMT
Utter Lack Of Concern For Loss Of Human Life By Authorities: NGT Takes Suo Moto Cognizance Of Deaths Due To Factory Fire, Appoints Joint Committee
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Pulling up the authorities for their utter lack of concern for loss of human life, the National Green Tribunal this week initiated suo moto proceedings on the basis of a news article regarding a factory fire in Delhi's Udyog Nagar which killed 6 people. A bench headed by Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel also appointed a joint committee in order to ascertain the cause of incident, status...

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Pulling up the authorities for their utter lack of concern for loss of human life, the National Green Tribunal this week initiated suo moto proceedings on the basis of a news article regarding a factory fire in Delhi's Udyog Nagar which killed 6 people. 

A bench headed by Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel also appointed a joint committee in order to ascertain the cause of incident, status of compliance of Water Act, Air Act and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 or any othe laws on the subject and to suggest remedial measures for compensating the victims and further steps to prevent such incident in future.

The tribunal took the Cognizance on the basis of an Indian Express news article titled "Six killed in factory fire: Owner held, raids on to nab second accused" dated 12th July. The article revealed that a shoe and garment manufacturing unit was being run in West Delhi at Udyog Nagar and as a result of massive fire inside the factory six workers had died. 

According to the report, 12 workers were trapped out of whom six were rescued from the factory. Owner of the factory was later arrested under sec. 308 IPC (attempt to commit culpable homicide).

According to the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, it was submitted before the tribunal that no inspection could be done in absence of permission of the Fire Department. It was also stated that no consents under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 (Water Act) and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 (Air Act) were given by the DPCC.

Hearing this, the Tribunal observed thus:

"It is a matter of regret that though six persons have died in a gruesome incident, the administration has not shown sensitivity to collect meaningful information nor taken steps to compensate the heirs of the victims."

Furthermore, it said:

"It is also surprising that despite death of six persons, offence registered is for 'attempt to cause homicide'. Learned DM has informed that ex-gratia compensation of only Rs. 50,000/- per deceased has been announced but not paid. These startling facts show utter lack of concern for the loss of human lives by the concerned authorities."

Forming a prima facie view that there is violation of environmental laws, the tribunal observed that the victims are required to be compensated under section 15 of the NGT Act.

Therefore, the tribunal constituted a joint memeber committee comprising of the following: CPCB, DPCC, District Magistrate, West Delhi, Director, Industrial Safety and Health and DCP, Outer Delhi.

"The Committee may visit the site and interact with the stakeholders, including the owner of the unit. Except for site visit, the Committee will be free to conduct proceedings online. It may take assistance of any other individual or institution for collecting all relevant Information."

In view of this, the Tribunal directed the committee to convene it's First meeting within one week.

The matter will now be considered on 7th September.

Title: In re: News item published in The Indian Express dated 12.07.2021 titled "Six killed in factory fire: Owner held, raids on to nab second accused"

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