BHUBANESWAR: National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Odisha State Pollution Control Board to close down an illegally run brewery in Tangi of Odisha’s Cuttack district and to file compliance report of the said order on May 6 this year.
The green panel also directed the Forest and Environment Secretary, Additional Chief Forest Conservator, District Collector and Divisional Forest Officer to ensure that operating breweries are remained closed and not permitted to operate during the pendency of this proceeding.
The said stringent closure order came upon during the hearing of the case filed by rights and green campaigner Subash Mohapatra of city-based Global Human Rights Communications.
Petitioner Mohapatra alleged that prior approval of central government is required for non-forest use of any forest land and in this case, no such approval has been granted which itself is a violation Section 2 of Forest Conservation Act 1980.
Further suppression of the fact that forest land is involved in project warrants a suspension of environment clearance granted to the project, he added.
SR Breweries Pvt. Ltd has managed to obtain environmental clearance without necessary forest clearance. The unit illegally encroached the forest land by violating several environmental laws of the land, said Mohapatra.
The Cuttack District Collector submitted that process of eviction of SR Breweries, who had illegally encroached forest land and constructed on it, has been completed, and the process has already been commenced under the Prevention of Land Encroachment Act- 1972.
Appearing for Union Ministry of Environment and Forest, advocate S.K. Ghosh submitted that SR Breweries Ltd has not obtained the necessary forest clearance before setting up the brewery.
The green panel observed that SR Breweries has set up the brewery unit illegally. It said in its order, “It is thus quite obvious that respondent No. 4 has set up the Brewery unit illegally without first obtaining the mandatory clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. In view of this, we direct the respondent No. 2, 3, 5 & 6 to ensure that the unit of respondent No. 4 remain closed and is not permitted to operate during the pendency of this proceeding”.
The green panel also directed to include Odisha State Pollution Control Board as a party, “Since Odisha Pollution Control Board is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Water Act and Air Act, we direct that it be added as a respondent as respondent No. 7. It further directed, “The newly added respondent No. 7 i.e. Odisha Pollution Control Board, shall submit compliance report of this order on the next date”.