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The National Green Tribunal has imposed a fine of Rs 17.31 cr on the Indian Oil Corporation Limited’s (IOCL) refinery in Panipat, for violating environmental norms by polluting water and air.

The bench comprising Chairperson Justice AK Goel, Justice SP Wangdi, Justice K Ramakrishnan and Expert Member Dr Nagin Nanda said that the money will be used to restore the damage caused to the environment.

The complaint in Satpal Singh, Sarpanch v IOCL Panipat Refinery was that air and water pollution by Panipat Refinery was causing large scale diseases affecting the inhabitants of the area. Samples thus collected from the Effluent Treatment Plant of the refinery were found to be non-compliant with local laws.

NGT observed: “A public sector unit is expected to be a model for compliance of environmental norms. For pollution caused, liability is unavoidable.”

The inspection was carried out by credible experts of the regulatory authorities, namely, the CPCB, the HSPCB under the direction of NGT.

In the wake of several polluting entities in the region, quantum of fine is yet to be assessed by the joint committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) and Deputy Commissioner, Panipat.

The interim compensation to the tune of Rs 17.31 crores, in the meantime, is to be deposited with the Central Pollution Control Board.

—India Legal Bureau

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