The National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine of Rs 25 crore to Hindustan Zinc Ltd, in connection with environmental violations at villages Agucha, Rampura, etc, Tehsil Hurd, District Bhilwada, Rajasthan covering nearly an area about 1,200 hectares of mining land.
As per the complainant, there is heavy blasting and underground mining operations are resulting in contamination of source of drinking water, resulting in various diseases like Asthma and skin borne ailments. Livestocks are also affected. Dust and stones get accumulated close to the agricultural land and houses of the inhabitants. Toxic and contaminated waste water is discharged from the mines. The area is ‘over exploited’ in terms of the ground water, it said.
While imposing the fine, NGT bench headed by its Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, in an order dated February 2, said in case the amount deposited is found to be deficient, the Tribunal may consider further directions, depending upon the material available.
Further, it directed a joint Committee to submit a report of status of compliance by March 31, 2023.
Merely requiring cost of plantation to be depositing without fixing accountability for the past violations may not be adequate, the tribunal noted.
Environmental law violations cannot be taken lightly when the violators are being entities like the present company and victims are poor villagers. Annual turnover of the company is said to be about Rs 22,000 crore per annum for the last more than three years and revenue receipt for the year 2020-2021 is more than Rs 20,000 crores per annum, though it is stated that there is no separate figure for particular mining unit, it observed.
The victims of damage are unspecified number of persons spread over in more than six Panchayats in Hurda block namely Bherukhera, Agucha, Parasrampura, Kalyanpura, Kothiya, Balapura and others. Thus, case is made out for requiring the company to provide for compensation for the past violations and bear the cost of remediation, apart from complying with the recommendations of the Committee.