GIL to pay 50 lakh to KSPCB for pollution

Graphite India Ltd (GIL), on Monday, agreed before the Supreme Court, to pay Rs 50 lakh for the air pollution caused by its Whitefield plant in Bengaluru. Special arrangement

Graphite India Ltd (GIL), on Monday, agreed before the Supreme Court, to pay Rs 50 lakh for the air pollution caused by its Whitefield plant in Bengaluru.

A three-judge bench presided over by Justice Madan B Lokur, allowed the company to pay the amount within two weeks to the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). KSPCB would utilise the money in addressing the air pollution problem. 

Senior advocate Shyam Divan, representing GIL, submitted that he has received instructions that the company can pay Rs 50 lakh in terms of the court's query. He said the company's willingness to pay the amount would be without any prejudice.

The apex court had, on October 23, asked Graphite India Ltd to state how much cost the company would bear for the pollution caused in Bengaluru.

A counsel, appearing for 'Whitefield Rising', contended that the amount was not adequate as the company had been causing pollution for over 20 years.

"What did you do all these years?," asked the bench comprising Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta.

To this, he said not less than 50 complaints were filed by residents. He also said GIL had set up a 'green plant' in Germany but decided to continue with obsolete equipment here. "Are the lungs of people in India less important?" he asked.

The court, however, accepted Divan's submission on the sum of money and closed the matter. The counsel also said the amount would be paid on "no fault basis".

The court had earlier castigated KSPCB for doing nothing to tackle the “wasting away” of Bengaluru.

It had asked the company to respond on the amount it was willing to pay as per 'the polluter pays principle' (for the damages caused to the environment).

The court's direction came, as the GIL counsel contended that the plant would be shut down by November end.

"Everything will be clear by December. Put the matter for consideration then only," he submitted.

The SC relied upon the EPCA (Environment Pollution Control Authority) report that stated use of needle pet coke in the plant that had resulted in plumes of smokes engulfing the area.

 

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GIL to pay 50 lakh to KSPCB for pollution

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