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NGT orders probe into Punjab refinery’s groundwater pollution

NGT directed a joint committee to investigate allegations that a refinery in Punjab has contaminated groundwater.

By Ground report
New Update
NGT orders probe into Punjab refinery’s groundwater pollution

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed a joint committee to investigate allegations that a refinery in Punjab has contaminated groundwater by violating environmental norms.

The refinery, AP Refinery Pvt Ltd, is located on Nakodar road in Jagraon, Ludhiana district, and is engaged in solvent extraction, refining and supply of refined rice bran oil.

The NGT’s order came on an original application filed by one of the shareholders of the refinery, who claimed that the firm is using a bypass mechanism to discharge untreated effluent on its land and outside, resulting in groundwater pollution.

The applicant also alleged that the effluent treatment plant (ETP) installed by the refinery is insufficient and inefficient, and has not been operating properly.

The counsel for the applicant submitted photographs showing that the groundwater has changed colour and that the villagers are agitating against the refinery.

The NGT observed that the application raises a substantial issue relating to compliance of environmental norms and that the financial condition of the refinery and the applicant may be adversely affected if environmental compensation is imposed.

The NGT constituted a joint committee comprising representatives of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), District Magistrate, Ludhiana and Central Groundwater Authority (CGWA).

The District Magistrate, Ludhiana will act as the coordinating agency in the joint committee. The joint committee will visit the site, ascertain the factual position, take samples of groundwater and discharge from the unit, get the sample analysis report and ascertain the extent of environmental damage, if any, caused by the refinery.

The joint committee will submit its report to the NGT within six weeks. The NGT also issued notice to the respondents, including the refinery, and directed the applicant to serve them and file an affidavit of service at least one week before the next date of hearing.

The NGT listed the matter for further hearing on May 1, 2024.

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