SC notice to NTPC, UP & MP govts on plea for ban on dumping of fly ash

The top court has sought a response by Nov 20. On Oct 6, the dyke of a fly ash pond at a power plant of the NTPC in Singrauli had breached causing spillage in several acres of land

Mithilesh DubeyMithilesh Dubey   1 Nov 2019 10:24 AM GMT

SC notice to NTPC, UP & MP govts on plea for ban on dumping of fly ash

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to 11 departments from the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments and the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).

On October 6, 2019, the dyke (boundary wall of a water body) of a fly ash pond at a power plant of the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh breached, causing spillage in several acres of land.

As a result of this, more than 20 lakh people living in Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh and Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh are drinking toxic water and it has damaged crops.

The copy of Supreme Court's order.

The copy of Supreme Court's order.

The top court has sought a response by November 20. In addition to this, the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board has imposed a fine of Rs 10 crore on NTPC, which is India's biggest thermal power plant.

Earlier, Ashwini Dubey, a Supreme Court advocate and an environmental export, had filed a petition in the court after the leak, which lead to spillage in the Rihand dam – biggest dam in India in terms of volume. Many villages in the Singrauli-Sonbhadra region like Chandwal, Judi, Jubadi, Shahpur, Baliyari, Telgavan, Yogichaura, Bhairwa, Gharsadi that source their water from the dam are forced to drink contaminated water. Particles of fly ash -- ash produced in small dark flecks by the burning of powdered coal – can be seen floating in the wells in these villages.

The copy of Supreme Court's order.

The copy of Supreme Court's order.

"We didn't get any notice"

As per the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1974 (47-49), if a company commits an offence, then the responsible person of the company would be held guilty of the crime.

On October 25, the Supreme Court issued notices to NTPC management, Ministry of Water Resources, Central Pollution Control Board, Principal Secretary, Madhya Pradesh, and irrigation departments from both, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments.

RS Parihar, the Regional Officer at Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board, told Gaon Connection that he has not received any notice so far. Lalmani Pandey, public relations officer at NTPC Vindhyachal, said the same and refused to comment on the matter.

The copy of Supreme Court's order.

The copy of Supreme Court's order.

What was in the ash dam?

The ash produced by burning of coal in power plants is known as fly ash. This fly ash was collected in a dam in the NTPC plant. Pollutants present in the fly ash make water toxic. Fly ash contains heavy metals such as silica, aluminium, and oxides of calcium, arsenic, boron, chromium, particulate matter 2.5 and black carbon. These minerals pollute the air in the vicinity of 20 km.

Similarly in August, many farmers in Madhya Pradesh suffered crop losses after a mud wall of a fly-ash dyke of Essar Energy's thermal power plant in Singrauli district collapsed during heavy rain. Many animals died in the tragedy.

Read Also: Toxic leak from NTPC's Singrauli coal plant contaminates water
Read Also: "Our fields are barren. People are falling sick"
Read Also: A village stuck between coal mines and a mountain of mud

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