The National Green Tribunal has awarded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the family members of seven boys who died after drowning in an abandoned stone mining pit in Madhya Pradesh’s Guna district in September 2016.
The principal bench of NGT chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel, while dealing with four applications claiming compensation for the deaths, said: “We hold the applicants entitled to compensation of Rs 10 lakhs in respect of each of deaths to be paid within three months. The state will be at liberty to recover 90 per cent of the amount from the Project Proponent. The Collector may disburse the amount to the heirs after proper identification, deducting the amount already paid.” said the tribunal order dated April 25.
It observed that there was no fencing of the pits nor any board of caution. The place of incident was part of the mining area, the tribunal noted. The crusher owner has to be held accountable for compensation for the deaths in the incident. Section 15 of the NGT Act, 2010 clearly empowers the Tribunal to deal with the claim of the victim of a violation of environmental norms, it said.
The state has also to share responsibility for failure to oversee safety precautions in conducting hazardous activities, NGT noted.
On the submission of respondent Yashwant Agrawal Stone Crusher Owner, who had submitted that the crusher was sold on August 8, 2007 to one Anil Bhargava, the NGT said it was unauthorised and prohibited by the Rules.
“On that ground, the lease granted to Yashwant Agrawal was canceled. Thus, the stand of Yashwant Agrawal that he is not liable as he has transferred the lease has been found to be untenable,” it said.
The state has already given 1 lakh each to the victims totaling Rs 7 lakh. No further compensation is liable to be paid, the district collector informed.