The National Green Tribunal (NGT), a statutory body which
handles cases related to environmental issues, recently held LG Polymers India,
a subsidiary of Korean producer LG Chem, entirely liable for the loss of life
caused due to the gas leak at its factory located in Visakhapatnam. NGT stated
that the Rs 50 crore in compensation, deposited by the company, would be spent
on restoration. It also constituted a committee to prepare a restoration plan.
Referring to an inspection report compiled by a NGT-appointed committee, a bench, headed by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, said, “The committee has opined that the company did not take proper care of the storage tank resulting in auto polymerization of styrene releasing excess heat which escaped from the goose-neck and dip hatch in the form of vapour.”
The bench also noted the committee’s submissions pertaining
to the unit operating without requisite environmental clearances. The bench stated, “Overwhelming material establish liability of the
company. The company has operated without EC (environmental clearance) and the
State PCB, on account of its ignorance of law or otherwise, gave ‘Consent to
Establish’ and ‘Consent to Operate’ in violation of law. The amount deposited
has thus to be appropriated towards part liability and interim compensation,
subject to further others.”
The NGT directed a committee of representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and State government officials to prepare a restoration plan within two months. It directed the Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary to take action against persons responsible for permitting the unit to operate in violation of law.
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