Graphite India To Pay Rs 50 Lakh Compensation For Pollution In Bengaluru

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An advocate claimed that Graphite India plant was there since 1997. (File)

New Delhi:

Graphite India Ltd (GIL) told the Supreme Court today that it would pay Rs 50 lakh to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) under the 'polluter pays principle' for its Bengaluru plant, facing complaints of pollution and emission of black dust.

The GIL's counsel told a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur that KSPCB could utilise this amount for dealing with measures to curb pollution in Bengaluru's Whitefield area where the plant is situated.

The apex court had on October 23 asked GIL's counsel to apprise it as to how much they were willing to pay on the basis of the 'polluter pays principle'.

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During the hearing, senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for GIL, told the bench that he has taken instructions from the company and it is willing to pay Rs 50 lakh to the KSPCB.

Advocate Aparajita Singh, assisting the court as an amicus curiae in the air pollution matter, agreed with the GIL's proposal and said there was "fugitive emission" in the area and GIL was "putting their house in order".

An advocate, appearing for residents of Whitefield area, claimed that GIL's plant was there since 1997 and they have also filed a plea on the issue before the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

"You pursue your petition pending before the NGT," the bench, also comprising Justices S A Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, said.

The lawyer then said that GIL had set up a "green plant" in Germany and they should do so in India as well.

The bench, after hearing the submissions, asked GIL to deposit Rs 50 lakh with the KSPCB within two weeks and made it clear that it would be without prejudice to the rights of the parties.

During the hearing in the air pollution matter, the bench also dealt with the separate issue of regulation for imported pet coke and the quantity of import.

Aparajita Singh told the court that she would discuss these matters with Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, representing the Centre, and they would come out with suggestions on the issue.

The bench asked them to do the needful within three weeks.

The apex court had earlier pulled up the KSPCB for "doing nothing" to curb pollution in Bengaluru even as the city was grappling with the problem.

Divan had on the last date of hearing told the bench that GIL would "completely shut down" its Whitefield's plant by November end.

The court had issued notice to GIL on a report filed by the Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and had asked them to explain why the use of needle petroleum coke (pet coke) should not be stopped at its plant.

GIL had told the apex court that it was not using imported needle pet coke at its Bengaluru plant.

In September, the court had allowed GIL's application seeking its permission to import needle pet coke to be used as feed stock for manufacture of graphite electrodes, used in the steel industry.

The court is hearing the issue related to pet coke which had cropped up while adjudicating a matter of air pollution in Delhi-national capital region.

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