Himachal court dismisses cement firm’s petitionsJuly 6th, 2012 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS
Shimla, July 6 (IANS) The Himachal Pradesh High Court Friday dismissed a cement company’s review petitions, which was fined Rs.100 crore for environmental damage and told to dismantle a captive thermal power plant at its cement plant.
Passing the order, a division bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Sanjay Karol said: “Both the review petitions (by infrastructure group Jaiprakash Associates Ltd.) are being disposed of by a common order since review sought is of the same judgment and the issues involved are identical.”
“We are of the considered view that this is only an attempt to reopen the matter and there is no error apparent on the face of the record,” the court said.
Jaiprakash Associates Ltd., in its review petitions placed before the bench June 1, contended that the project machinery for the thermal plant in Solan district had never been established.
It also petitioned, among two other grounds, that the damages of Rs.100 crore had been issued without actually assessing the costs as per the ‘polluter pays’ principle.
However, the court said: “We have come to the conclusion that the construction of the thermal plant was taken up June 6, 2006, even before the consent to establish (CTE) was given by the (state pollution control) board.”
“We have held that construction was completed despite CTE being withdrawn. From the averments made in the review petitions itself, it is apparent that by now, the petitioners have transported 87 trailers which contained the material used to set up the thermal plant. Therefore, we cannot believe that the plant had not been set up,” it added.
The court May 4 had observed: “As far as the thermal plant is concerned, we find no extenuating circumstances to permit the thermal plant to continue. We accordingly quash the environmental clearance in respect of the thermal plant and direct JAL to dismantle it within three months.”
On the imposition of Rs.100 crore damages, the court Friday said: “The damages have been imposed because we felt that it would not be proper to order the dismantling of the cement plant since it would affect the livelihood of a large number of innocent people. We have taken all factors into consideration while imposing these damages and there is no error apparent on the face of the record.”
“We, after imposing Rs.100 crore of damages, have held that Rs.10 crore should be diverted for the benefit of the villagers. We see no reason to recall these directions,” it added.
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Tags: cement company, cement plant, crore, deepak gupta, division bench, environmental clearance, environmental damage, extenuating circumstances, himachal pradesh, imposition, infrastructure group, jaiprakash associates ltd, jal, petitioners, petitions, polluter pays principle, pollution control board, sanjay, state pollution control board, thermal power plant