Landfill fire: NGT asks Ludhiana civic body to deposit Rs 100 cr compensation

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Ludhiana Municipal Corporation to deposit Rs 100 crore with the District Magistrate as interim compensation in relation to the fire that broke out at a garbage dumpyard in the city in April, killing seven people.

“If the corporation is unable to make such deposit, it may be done by the state government. It is open to the corporation to recover the amount from those contributing to the garbage or those who failed to perform their duties, as per law,” NGT Chairperson Justice (retd) Adarsh Kumar Goel said in an order passed on Monday but made available on Tuesday.

The tribunal further directed the DM to deposit a sum of Rs 5 lakh immediately with a bank, to the sole surviving male member of the family and the remaining be kept in fixed deposit, and Rs 5 lakh be paid every year with accrued interest till the entire amount is disbursed.

It also directed an action taken report to be filed by the Municipal Corporation, the District Magistrate, the state Pollution Control Board (PCB), the state Chief Secretary, and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within two months.

The green court further directed the Chief Secretary to appear before the Tribunal bthrough video conference on August 18 for interaction on the issue of non-compliance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

“We hope the Chief Secretary will also deal with the issues arising from the above order on that date pending further action in terms of the order,” the order read.

According to the green court, the CPCB may collate information on legacy and active dump sites in the cities with population over one million and, in the state/UT capitals, with timelines to prepare and execute fire management plans, with requisite facilities and infrastructure.

“In particular, Ludhiana Municipal Corporation may set up requisite facilities/ infrastructure to prevent fires. The PPCB may grant necessary Authorisation under MSW Rules as per norms. Remediation of legacy waste which has already been delayed beyond timelines under the Rules may now be done without further delay,” the order stated.

On April 20, seven members of a family, including five children, were burnt to death in a fire that broke out in their shanty next to a landfill in the Punjab industrial city.

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