Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 31:
The Eastern Zonal Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) at Kolkata has ordered the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) collector Jajpur, Regional Transport Officer (RTO), Chandikhol, VISA Steel and General Manager, East Coast Railway (ECoR) to file their replies within four weeks on the alleged air and water pollution caused due to the railway siding at Jakhapura and transportation of raw materials from railway siding to VISA Steel.
Adjudicating on a petition filed by one Aswini Kumar Dhal the NGT on Friday further directed the OSPCB to file a status report and give reasons why the closure notice to Jakhapura railway siding was revoked.
The NGT directed the OSPCB to take necessary steps and measures to prevent pollution at the railway siding as an immediate measure.
Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, advocate Sankar Prasad Pani, argued that the Jakhapura railway siding does not have consent to operate from the OSPCB and has not installed any preventive and mitigating measures to arrest pollution caused due to handling of coal and minerals at the railway siding and stack yard.
Also the present location of the railway siding does not confirm to the criteria stipulated in the April 2010 guideline for environmental management in stack yards and railway siding, Pani contended in his argument.
The petitioner prayed for closure of the railway siding and sought restoration of damage caused to agricultural land and water bodies because of pollution caused by the railway siding and plying of heavy vehicles from the siding to the plant site through Jakhapura village.
The next of hearing in the matter has been fixed for July 17.