NGT notice to Centre, Karnataka govt on shifting of sugar mill

NGT notice to Centre, Karnataka govt on shifting of sugar mill

The National Green Tribunal today issued notice to the Centre, the Karnataka government and the Ministry of Environment and Forest on a plea seeking shifting of a sugar factory in the state from a town near a river alleging that dumping of waste pollutes the environment and water.

A bench headed by NGT chairperson Swatanter Kumar sought reply of the government and others including the Ministry of Water, environment officer of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and Nirani Sugar Industry within two weeks and listed the matter for March 8.

Petitioner Anil Nishani, who is a practicing lawyer, has sought a direction to the authorities to shift or relocate the sugar mill to any other place at a distance from the Mudhol Town and surrounding villages and Ghataprabha river in Karnataka, alleging it generates huge waste during manufacture of sugar and has become a "great health hazard" to the people living in the vicinity.

The petition filed through advocate Anil V Katarki, also sought direction to Nirani Sugar Industry to compensate the victims of pollution and bear the cost of restoring the environmental degradation.

It alleged that the sugar factory was causing noise pollution by releasing steam at high pressure with a loud hissing sound which harms aged people and children. "Nirani Sugar Industry has constructed ponds in the vicinity to release waste water and effluents in to the ponds which has contaminated the underground water sources and the borewell water in the area taste sweetish with strange smell," it alleged.

It said residents who are exposed to bagasse, a chemical used to fuel boilers, are suffering from various ailments like eye irritation, dizziness, gastric problems, jaundice and dysentery.

The plea said the authorities failed to fulfil statutory duty to maintain and secure good hygienic conditions of the Mudhol town and surrounding villages and when the residents of the area made various representations to the respondents, they did not act upon it.

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