NGT rejects plea of party responsible for the adversity caused by its chemical plant blast; Orders to deposit Rs 25 crores compensation

National Green Tribunal(NGT) : The coram of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Chairperson and Justice S.P. Wangdi, Judicial Member and Dr Nagin Nanda, Expert Member, dismissed the application for modification of the order of tribunal and ordered the party to make the deposit payment immediately.

On 3-06-2020, the chemical factory of Yashyashvi Rasayan Pvt. Ltd. encountered a massive blast when a fire lit up in the storage tank of the factory. Eight workers were killed and at least 50 injured. About 4800 inhabitants of the nearby villages had to be moved to safer place on account of the incident. An NGO from Surat, Aryavart Foundation, filed an application against the company before NGT, where the tribunal assessed the total amount to be Rs 25 Crores on account of compensation to the families of the dead victims, injured victims and the ones who had to be displaced. The company moved to the Supreme Court against the order of the tribunal. The Supreme Court, on 22-06-2020, after hearing both the sides, decided that company should approach NGT for modification of order and gave the company 10 days to make the payments omitting the charges for displaced persons as they had to be further decided.

The main ground for seeking modification of order of the Tribunal was that the persons displaced were brought back to their homes on the very same day, no damage was caused to their person or property and there was no permanent migration. Therefore, the company’s prayer was to recall direction to pay the remaining amount of Rs 22.075 crores.

Bench decided that they did not find any merit in the prayer of the applicant. According to them, the impugned order was passed after preliminary verification of facts and after notice to the applicant and not just media report alone. Further, on the issue of displacement, the bench laid emphasis on the impact which the blast had made on the environment and the people whose faced the trauma said, “Displacement was at large scale creating anxiety, fear, trauma, and misery. Some families may have minor children or senior citizens, females who certainly are bound to greatly suffer by such large scale and sudden displacement from their houses. Exact damage is to be fully ascertained but even as per conservative estimate, the amount of compensation of Rs 25,000/- to each displaced person cannot, in our view, be held to be excessive, even on further consideration. There is no golden scale to measure such loss and a reasonable estimate has to be the basis.” On the gravity of compensation to be paid within prescribed time, the tribunal emphasised ,“It is against interest of justice to further delay deposit and disbursement of the amount to the victims of the tragedy as almost two months have passed from the date of the incident.” Therefore, the court dismissed the application for modification.[Aryavart Foundation v. Yashashvi Rasayan (P) Ltd.  ,I.A. No. 237 of 2020, decided on 30-07-2020]

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