The National Green Tribunal (NGT), dated 15th October 2020, has directed the Uttar Pradesh administration to keep a vigil against the illegal operation of brick kilns to protect the air quality in the National Capital Region. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice A K Goel noted that the brick kiln industry contributed about 5 to 7 per cent of PM10 emissions in winter and summer, respectively, to ambient air of Delhi and NCR.
Brief Facts of the Case
The plea, filed through advocate Preeti Singh, listed seven districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Hapur and Muzaffarnagar, 13 districts of Haryana, including Gurgaon, and two districts (Alwar and Bharatpur) of Rajasthan, besides Delhi in the petition. The issue for consideration is the remedial action against the illegal operation of brick kilns in District Baghpat, U.P where 600 brick kilns are illegally operating. This order came after the Ghaziabad district magistrate told the bench that in March, due to the lockdown situation in the district with respect to COVID-19, inspections at kilns could not be carried out. He told the tribunal that during the lockdown period, the chief secretary issued directions to all the district magistrates of Uttar Pradesh to allow the brick kilns to operate in the state. The NGT had earlier directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to conduct a carrying capacity study of brick kilns in NCR and other regions and its impact on ambient air quality. The tribunal was hearing a bunch of pleas filed by journalist Shailesh Singh and others seeking action against brick kilns, which are operating without complying to pollution norms and causing immense air and water pollution.
Arguments Before the Court
The petitioners alleged before the court that 600 brick kilns are illegally operating in Baghpat district without obtaining necessary clearances from statutory authorities concerned.
The Tribunal observed that since there was an injunction issued by this Tribunal in O.A No. Original Application No. 1016/2019, Utkarsh Panwar v. Central Pollution Control Board & Ors., the brick kiln activities could not have been allowed by an order of the Chief Secretary which was mentioned before the Tribunal.
The Court’s Observation and Decision
The Bench observed and dismissed an application seeking permission to operate brick kiln.
“The concerned authorities in the state of Uttar Pradesh may keep a vigil against the illegal operation of brick kilns so as to protect the air quality in the NCR,” stated the Bench.
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