Cold Rolling Units operating with CTE/CTO from State Pollution Control Boards must obtain an Environmental Clearance within one year

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The units which are established or operating under the CTEs/CTOs obtained from a statutory authority i.e. the respective State Pollution Control Boards, a period of one year may be allowed for their recommended conversion to EC ensuring that the units remain in operation for the allowed period and closures, unemployment and related social issues/unrests are avoided. During this period of one year, they will have to follow all the conditions imposed under the CTE/CTO.

Brief facts of the Case

In the present case, the Respondent failed to obtain Environmental Clearance before commencing with the Cold Rolled Stainless Steel manufacturing industry and was extracting groundwater without NOC from the Central Ground Water Authority.

However, the Committee formed by NGT order concluded that the applicability of Environmental Clearance to the aforementioned unit involving the process of Rolling, Annealing Furnace, Pickling and Skin Pass Rolling can only be given by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change in consideration of the EIA Notification, 2006 as amended on 01/12/2009 ad definition of the Secondary Metallurgical Processing Industries as given in the EIA Guidance Manual Prepared by IL & FS Ecosmart Ltd.”

The Technical EIA Guidance Manual of the MoEF & CC for Metallurgical industry classifies rerolling as a secondary metallurgical industry. It is also noted that the present unit has obtained CTE from GPCB which is a Statutory authority. There may be other similarly placed cases in the country. This indicated that there is a scope and need for further clarification in the matter regarding certain issues so that there is no subjective interpretation in future.

Issues before the Court

These issues were regarding the following:

  1. Definition of secondary metallurgy units for EIA process
  2. Clarification about the types of furnaces under the applicability of MoEF & CC notification 2006 and
  3. Clarifying re-rolling vs. cold rolling in the context of Environment Clearance.

Court’s Decision

The Hon’ble Tribunal in its judgement stated that category of the units to which the Respondents belongs, having been established or operating under CTEs/CTOs obtained from the statutory authority, are permitted to operate for conversion to EC and would ensure that the units remain in operation for the said period with the condition that during one year, the units shall follow all the conditions imposed under the CTE/CTO.

The court thought that the order dated 21.11.2019 granting stay of the operation of the unit, required modification to the extent that the respondent no. 7 shall be permitted to run for one year provided that the unit strictly adheres to the CTE conditions till such time CTO was not granted.


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