NGT Directs NTPC To Install Conveyor Belt For Transfer Of Coal in Barkagaon, Jharkhand

In a significant judgement, the Kolkata Bench of the National Green Tribunal directed the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to install a conveyor belt in Barkagaon in Jharkhand for transfer of coal. The NGT has given NTPC three months time for this and has also directed the Jharkhand Pollution Control Board as well as the Jharkhand Government to see to it that this order is implemented in time.

Speaking to, Advocate for the petitioners, Satya Prakash said “The Hon’ble Bench of Justice SP Wangdi and Sibal Dasgupta of NGT Eastern Zone Bench, Kolkata has passed an order  and directed NTPC to construct a conveyor belt within three months at Barkagoan of Hazaribagh, Jharkhand,  the NGT has constituted a committee of five members in the month of July 2020 in the matter of Tripurari Singh versus Ministry of Railways and others, NGT said in its order the Jharkhand State Pollution Control Board and Government of Jharkhand shall monitor the work and transportation of the coal in areas, the court has said its order shall be strictly followed by the parties, the five members committee has recommended 20 feet boundary wall should be constructed  and a chemical dusting of coal should be dumped at the dedicated pond which shall be constructed by NTPC and mining companies”.

Earlier in September last year, following orders of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), an inspection team went to reached the Banadag-Katkamdag coal siding in Hazaribagh in Jharkhand. The team visited the site following a petition by one T.P. Singh that National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and its vendor – Thriveni Sainik Mining Private Limited, had been involved in serious violations of norms in the area.

The team, comprising two members of the NGT, Deputy Commissioner of Hazaribagh District Aditya Kumar Anand, Petitioner T.P. Singh, Ashok Kumar Yadav from Pollution Control Board, Hazaribagh visited the spot. 300 Local farmers present there told the team members that the Railway Siding is surrounded by cultivable fields and their farm land is being adversely affected by coal dust and also the residue left behind by coal. Not only this, locals alleged that this has resulted in lung problem and breathing issues to many residents. They said that even the water of the well, which they used for drinking purposes, has become black and not worth drinking due to the Railway Siding where coal is being off loaded. Locals have been, since long, demanding shifting the Railway Siding to some other place.

Locals were quite vocal against the NTPC and its local vendor Thriveni Sainik Mining Private Limited, for blatantly flouting norms of coal mining in the area. In addition to this, at least twenty residents of the area, had handed over written representations to the members of the NGT team, compalining about the high-handedness of the officials of the NTPC and employees of Thriveni Sainik Mining Private Limited.

Counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Satya Prakash said that the land that NTPC and the mining company used for coal transporting has been acquired for the Shivpur-Tori railway line. Now NTPC uses this land for coal dumping and transporting. Also, during transporting coal for NTPC, dumpers of Triveni Sainik Mining Company pass through other villages including Katkamdag, Banadag, Banka, Sultana. Due to this, cultivable land and environment are being adversely affected, he added.

NTPC has been mining coal from Pakri-Barwadih and takes railway siding at Katkamdag for loading coal racks. Transportation is done with dumpers. Nearly 150 acres of cultivable land has been polluted due to transporting and dumping of coal. As a result of spilling of coal from dumpers, fertile land is no longer suitable for cultivation. Health hazards and other factors are also there, locals had complained.

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