The National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone has directed the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board to pass appropriate orders in a matter related to unauthorised brick kilns exploiting the Western Ghat region leading to ecological damage.
On its own, the tribunal had initiated action on the issue.
Since there was no provision to regulate the activities of such units and to prevent ecological damage, the NGT-SZ had taken congnizance based on a Tamil daily’s reportage on April 14, 2021.
Subsequently, proceedings were initiated by the state Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) as well as the mining authorities.
Following a hearing on the matter, in its order on Tuesday, the tribunal referred to the Board’s report on determination of compensation.
Environmental compensation was fixed for the brick kiln units in five specific villages as per a Central Pollution Control Board formula.
It was to recover compensation for the damages caused to the environment by the brick kiln units under the ”Polluter Pays principle”.
All the 185 Brick Kiln units (Coimbatore/western region) were issued showcause notice and the compensation payable by them.
Each of the individual unit is called upon to pay the compensation amount of Rs 32 lakh approximately.
The counsel appearing for the brick manufacturers association stated that barring two of the owners, the rest of them were served notices and they were in the process of filing replies.
Brick kiln units were operating without taking necessary permission from appropriate authorities.
”When these units were doing mining without appropriate approvals from the authorities, they have taken advantage of the same and now when the authorities are imposing environmental compensation and penalty under the Minor Mineral Rules, they cannot object to the same,” the order said.
Judicial member Justice Pushpa Sathyanarayana and Expert member Satyagopal said that on receipt of replies to showcause notices, the individual units are ”directed to appear before the Board and submit what all are their objections and the Pollution Control Board is directed to pass appropriate order.” The Board was directed to complete proceedings by conducting an enquiry after affording an opportunity of personal hearing to the individuals and then pass necessary orders within a period of six weeks. The NGT-SZ posted the matter for further hearing on November 1, 2022.