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NGT Appoints Committee To Inquire Into Ash Pond Breach In Bokaro

The NGT has issued notice to the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC), Pollution Control Board and others in a matter regarding a breach of the fly ash pond of the Bokaro Thermal Power Station operated by DVC in Bokaro district, Jharkhand.

The petition was filed regarding the ash pond breach that had occurred at the Bokaro Thermal Power Station on 12th September, 2019, and thereby contaminating the river and the entire environment of the area lying between the ash pond and the Damodar River including agricultural lands, ground water, surface water, habitation and animals with fly ash which is highly hazardous to human health. Further the contamination of the Damodar river has affected the drinking water supply of people living downstream of the Bokaro Thermal Power Station.

The Tribunal also formed a committee comprising of (i) Central Pollution Control Board, Regional Office, Kolkata, (ii) The District Magistrate, Bokaro District and (iii) The Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board to inspect the area in question and verify the factual position on the ground.

The order was passed in a petition filed by Praveen Kumar Singh, a local resident and environmental activist and represented by Advocates Rahul Choudhary and Sharan Balakrishna. The Bench of the NGT comprising of Justice S.P Wangdi and Siddhanta Das, recorded the submission of the Applicant that the Bokaro Thermal Power Station is in violation of the environment Ministries fly ash notification dated 25.01.2016 mandating 100% fly ash use, which has resulted in the breach of the ash pond.

The NGT’s order has referred to the analysis of water samples at the Damodar River carried out by the laboratories of Yugantar Bharti which was placed on record by the petitioner, showing that the river water contains high amounts of lead, selenium, iron, chromium and arsenic which is undeniably harmful to humans. It is an established fact that fly ash is highly toxic and contains the aforementioned heavy metals, and many others such as copper, zinc, nickel, boron, cadmium, thallium, molybdenum and mercury.

The petition prays for remedial measures for the damage that has been caused to the environment, and also for heavy environmental compensation to be imposed upon DVC.

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